Does Roomba Scratch Floors? (Hardwood, Vinyl, etc.)

Last updated on February 15th, 2024

Roomba works on several types of floors, including Tile, Linoleum, Vinyl, Marble, Carpet, Slate, Stone, and Sealed hardwood floors. Its performance is different on carpets and different on all other types of hard floors.

You can see those neat vacuum lines on the carpet when the robot is done cleaning. But does Roomba scratch floors? Let’s find out.

Does Roomba scratch floors? (The ultimate truth)

A Roomba can scratch floors, especially if you have unsealed hardwood floors. It’s not a common occurrence, but a significant number of users have reported it. The main culprit is the front wheel. Its plastic casing can cause scratch marks. The main wheels, when worn out, can do the same.

Role of wheels and brushes

1. Main wheels

Main wheels of a Roomba
Main wheels

Roomba is designed to work both on hard floors and carpets. The carpets don’t receive any scratches, but the hard floors are at risk of it. The main wheels are made of rubber. They glide smoothly over all floor types.

But if this rubber is frayed or cracked, that could cause scratches to the floor. This won’t happen anytime soon if you buy the vacuum. With constant use, you’ll notice the difference.

2. Front-wheel

The front wheel (caster) wheel is most responsible for floors getting scratched. It has a plastic casing that attracts hair and debris.

If anything sharp, like sand or a piece of wood, gets stuck on the wheel, it draws debris everywhere. Sand is sharp and thus can cause scratches on unsealed floors.

3. Main Brushes

Main brushes of a Roomba
Main brushes

The brush system of the new models is extremely good. The older 600 series models used to have a bristles brush, which agitated the floor with a certain harshness.

This caused marks on hard floors. But now they have a floating brush system. The main brush doesn’t even touch the ground. Damaging it is out of the question.

Roomba on different floor types

Each type of floor is unique in its own way. You can’t expect a vacuum to behave similarly on all of them. Though iRobot claims that its vacuums are compatible with most floor types, there are always experiences that say otherwise.

Let’s see how a Roomba does on some of the common floor types seen in households.

1. Hardwood

Does Roomba scratch floors?: Roomba cleaning a hardwood floor
Roomba cleaning a hardwood floor

Hardwood floors are quite commonly found in households. But it also turns out to be one of the most delicate floor types. It’s easily susceptible to markings from furniture legs and cat claws.

What’s stopping the robot from leaving its mark? All you need is something getting stuck on the wheel, and you can find scratches all over the hardwood floor.

The Roomba itself won’t cause any harm, but it can’t help if something drags along with it on the floor.

2. Laminate

Roomba cleaning a laminate floor
Roomba cleaning a laminate floor

A laminate floor is less likely to get scratched with a Roomba. It’s, after all, a thin fiberboard having the appearance of wood. It’s mostly smooth, so the vacuum runs over it easily. Even if something gets stuck on the wheel and scratches the floor, it won’t be that prominent.

Since they cannot be refinished, there is a risk of them getting scratched. But they are also quite cheaper than hardwood, so replacing a few blocks every few years won’t be that expensive.

3. Vinyl

Roomba cleaning a vinyl floor
Roomba cleaning a vinyl floor

Of all the discussed floor types, vinyl is the least susceptible to damage. This is because it has two protective coats over the main pattern layer. And Roomba has rubber-padded main wheels, which don’t cause harm to such flooring.

So, the robot is least likely to damage vinyl flooring. Even if they get scratched, the effect won’t be much visible. Your vinyl floors are completely safe from a vacuum.

4. Carpet

Roomba cleaning a carpet
Roomba cleaning a carpet

There is absolutely no way a Roomba can scratch a carpet floor. The robot doesn’t do well on shag rugs, but that’s a different story. It’s because the fibers of the rug get stuck between the brushes and obstruct their movement.

It’s more like the rug causes harm to the vacuum rather than the other way around. We recommend getting the Roomba s9+ for carpets, as it has the highest suction power of all iRobot vacuums.

Prevent Roomba from scratching floors

You can’t go on letting the vacuum scratch your floors. You can’t completely control it in this aspect. But you can at least take some precautions to avoid this from happening. You can:

  1. Check the main wheels regularly for signs of fraying or a tear.
  2. Clean the main wheels and the front wheel from time to time.
  3. Remove any hair tangled around the main brush and side brush before each cleaning cycle.
  4. Replace the main brush when it gets worn out. You’ll probably need to do that once or twice a year.
  5. Ensure the protective layer of your wood floors is intact so the Roomba can’t reach the main flooring layer.
  6. Get rid of wires, cords, sharp objects, or anything small that the vacuum can pick up and drag along with it.
  7. Don’t let your cat sit on top of the vacuum. Though it looks cute, it puts pressure on the robot, which in turn puts pressure on the floor.
  8. Seal any loose floorboards to prevent the robot from dragging them out more.
  9. Don’t set out the Roomba if you have sand on the floor. First, sweep it off manually and then let the vacuum clean.

Also Read: Can a Roomba hurt your pet? (Cat, Dog, Rabbit)

Conclusion – Does a Roomba scratch the floor?

Roomba doesn’t always go on scratching floors. But under some circumstances, it can scratch hard floors. The hardwood floors are most at risk, followed by the laminate floors. The vinyl floors are least likely to get scratched. And the carpet floors are out of the question; there’s no way a Roomba can scratch them.

All of these damaging parts can be avoided if you properly maintain your vacuum. Check the brushes and wheels regularly and clean them. Don’t go on being lazy; otherwise, it will cost you a significant amount of money to replace your floors.


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Sarah Williams

I love writing stuff that's easy to read and fun to learn from. Beaches are my happy place—I just can't get enough of the sand, the waves, and the salty breeze. And you know what else? I'm totally into smart home gadgets! They're like magic tricks that make life easier at home.

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