Surfaces 2018 Review: At this year's show, branding and marketing shared center stage - Mar 2018

By Darius Helm, Beth Miller and Anne Harr

This year’s show, held in Las Vegas from January 30 to February 1, was busy, colorful and enthusiastic. Attendee traffic was strong, exhibitor bookings were up 5% and manufacturers put their best foot forward, investing not just in product but also in new brands, booth design, unique merchandising units and dramatic displays on booth floors and walls.

The massive L-shaped 450,000-square-foot exhibit space-featuring Surfaces, TileExpo and StonExpo/Marmomac under the umbrella of TISE (The International Surface Event)-was so crammed with people and product that a shortcut across the outside parking lot turned into a pedestrian highway. It didn’t help that the middle third of the exhibit hall was focused on stone processing machinery, essentially cutting the flooring show in two.

The Las Vegas Market, showing product including area rugs at the World Market Center at the other end of the Strip, ran more or less concurrently with the Surfaces show. For the first two days of Surfaces, shuttles, free with a TISE badge, ferried attendees between the shows. But many attendees reported that they just didn’t have enough time to travel across town. The downside for Surfaces is that there’s not much to see in the way of rugs, which emphasizes the channel shift in rugs away from the brick-and-mortar floorcovering retailers that attend the show.

The other big news at Surfaces had to do with another show entirely, Domotex USA. In early January, Hannover Fairs USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Deutsche Messe, which started Domotex in Germany 30 years ago, announced that Domotex was coming to the U.S., with its first show to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta at the end of February 2019. At Surfaces, manufacturers grappled with the issue, with some declaring their intent to still show at Surfaces but also test out Domotex with a smaller booth.

The Ignite education portion of Surfaces started a day earlier than the show itself, offering education sessions for retailers, distributors, installers, maintenance and restoration service providers, and architects and designers, along with certifications and continuing education credits.

New to the show floor was The Dish, a design and installation showcase hub, featuring trend discussions, exhibitor products and various demonstrations. And special events included: a Designer Day Luncheon hosted by Bea Pila of B Pila Design Studio, and sponsored by Houzz and Floor Focus; a Designer Off-site Home tour on a ridge overlooking Las Vegas Valley; the Emerging Professionals Happy Hour, where Floor Focus celebrated the ten winners of the award for under-40 rising stars in the flooring industry; and the Trends Breakfast, hosted by Suzanne Winn, a retailer and design expert, featuring hot trends from a range of exhibitors.

The most prominent new exhibitor this year was Anderson Tuftex, a new higher-end Shaw Industries brand combining Anderson Hardwood and Shaw’s Tuftex carpet division. Mohawk, the biggest exhibitor, redesigned its space to bring together its family of brands. Another notable transformation was Congoleum, which relaunched itself as Cleo in a sleek, fashion forward space with great floors and sophisticated displays. US Floor’s Cube merchandising display was also memorable.

The overall trend, which shows no signs of slowing, is the introduction of multilayer rigid LVT in a range of WPC and SPC formats. Just about every large multi-category flooring producer and LVT specialist had at least one program to offer. It’s a confusing category, not just the nomenclature, but the range in constructions and price points and, most of all, the marketing. Waterproofing was perhaps the biggest theme at the show. And it has been creating some confusion. WPC and SPC, for instance, are no more waterproof than the LVT that they are derived from.

Laminates, however, are notoriously not waterproof, thanks to their fiberboard cores. Laminate producers have responded in a range of ways. Most are touting water resistant cores, including some new core constructions, but mostly through treatment of the edges. Mohawk, which rebranded its laminates as RevWood-potentially adding yet another layer of confusion-showcased RevWood Plus in a literal waterfall display, with edge treatments, rolled edges that create watertight seals, and a perimeter sealant together creating a waterproof installation.

Further muddying the waters is the use of veneers made of real types of wood flooring atop both rigid LVT and laminate cores. This frontier was first crossed by Shaw years ago with Epic, a hardwood veneer atop an HDF core. These innovations are quickly blurring the boundaries between products. And the question is: how do we determine what is a real hardwood? And, more importantly, who decides?

The waterproof focus relates to the biggest consumer marketing trend in residential flooring right now-pet friendly. PetProtect, branded by Invista’s Stainmaster, is in danger of becoming a noun. Stain treatments, odor treatments, specialized backings, scratch resistance, antimicrobials, hydrophobic carpet fibers, dent resistance-all in service of Rocky, who will now have to confine his assault to sofas and chairs, and, of course, slippers.

In terms of design, there were several compelling trends. The biggest long-term trend, wood looks, is itself comprised of many trends. Longer and wider, for instance. This trend has just about peaked. After all, there’s an aesthetic and functional limit to how wide and long wide-plank wood flooring can go without building bigger rooms-and the trend in residential home building is going the other way. A few manufacturers, Mannington and Mullican among them, introduced 3” strip flooring, which was refreshing. Many manufacturers of real hardwood are focused on creating “authentic” product with a depth of character that can’t be matched by faux wood flooring looks. But it’s worth noting that producers of wood-look LVT, rigid LVT, ceramic and laminate have had no trouble keeping up with hardwood trends.

Another hardwood trend is color. There were lots of rich, dark looks this year, balancing out the pale European white oak trend. Gloss levels are uniformly low, with oiled looks very strong. And here and there, manufacturers experimented with warmer, ruddier finishes-nothing too orange yet, except among some outliers.

Herringbone constructions are trending in hardwood as well as wood-look products in laminate, vinyl plank and ceramics. In faux looks, there were also plenty of chevron designs, along with some multi-width wood plank looks.

Decos were hot this year. There were some great faded decos in both wood and stone visuals. Novalis had one on its show floor; so did Cleo and Inhaus. Fabric effects were also strong, like with Crossville’s Bohemia. And across all hard surface categories-other than real wood-a clear trend toward stone looks is emerging, mostly in rectangular formats. Some are stone replicas, but many are blended visuals, like some of the deco looks.

Also prominent were hard surface wall treatments. They’ve been trending for a few years now, and more and more manufacturers are getting involved. WE Cork, for instance, has introduced a program for cork walls, which are also aesthetically appealing acoustic abatement treatments.

Also worth mentioning is retro patterning in sheet vinyl. Mannington launched this trend a couple of years ago, offering small-scale retro patterns, some subtly distressed, in its sheet vinyl program. The patterning has been fantastic, including this year’s introductions. IVC US also offered a great looking patterned vinyl, Arterra, on its show floor.

In terms of carpet, the more interesting trends were at the higher end, where there was plenty of patterning. Mills like Kaleen and Prestige showcased woven looks on the floors of their booths-Prestige’s Lorimar in Denim was a showstopper. And the patterning at the higher end wasn’t just focused on traditional designs. There were also plenty of organic, multilevel textured looks, more like one might see at a commercial show like NeoCon, along with muted large-scale plaids in woven constructions. Also, woven indoor/outdoor constructions were more complex, intricate and colorful than ever.

At more affordable price points, there was a focus on dense tonal cut piles, with colors staying fairly conservative. PET still dominated new carpet introductions. And solution-dyed fibers were everywhere.

Phenix entered into the mainstreet market with Phenix on Main, offering well-designed carpet tile and broadloom, along with an LVT program. So did The Dixie Group’s Masland, introducing Masland Energy with broadloom and carpet tile offerings.

Mannington, the privately owned New Jersey-based firm that has been serving the market for over 100 years, has had a diverse hard and soft surface product offering for far longer than any other U.S. firm. At the show, the firm introduced new products across several flooring categories, many drawing inspiration from historical styles.

• Five new sheet vinyl collections
• Adura Max Apex, a new line of six WPC/rigid LVT collections
• New Restoration laminate flooring designs
• New hickory and oak engineered hardwoods

Mannington continues to lead the reinvention of the sheet vinyl category with a new retro design called Tapestry-following its 2016 intro of products like Filagree and last year’s Deco, Lattice and Hive. Tapestry’s classic stylized floral design comes in Denim, Linen, Tweed and Wool. Also noteworthy are Oceana, a small-scale Carrara marble design of hexagons and diamonds that convey a 3D impression of cubes; Patina, a soft distressed concrete look in an irregular plank design; and Versailles, a sophisticated design of weathered, timeworn black and white checkerboard tiles likely to woo those who have a love-hate relationship with this classic tile design.

Most memorable in the Adura Max Apex line of WPC-style rigid LVT is Chart House, a collection of 6”x36” planks in a multi-width design of mixed barnwood-in High Tide, for example, barnwood colors range from charcoal and medium grey to dun and whitewash. Other collections include Hilltop, Aspen, Hudson, Napa and Spalted Wych Elm.

Mannington added three new designs to its Restoration collection of higher end laminates. Palace Plank is an understated white oak design in a wide plank format, and it pairs with Palace Chevron, where the planks themselves feature angled white oak. The combination affords homeowners a wide range of design options. Also new is Hillside Hickory, based on one of Mannington’s best-selling hardwood designs, in two cool, pale colors-Cloud and Pebble.

There are a couple of notable elements in Mannington’s new hardwood designs. One is a bold use of rotary-peeled veneers for different oak and hickory looks under the Latitude collection. The other is a 3” strip format in Carriage Oak, a reversal from the wide plank trend, with low-key wirebrushed and weathered paint effects.

Phenix Flooring, a major domestic producer of nylon and PET residential carpet, has also been offering hard surface flooring for the last couple of years, with a major expansion at this year’s show.

• New rigid LVT, Velocity, with EVA backing
• Two new LVT products, Bold Statement and Point of View
• New mainstreet division, Phenix on Main
• Additions to the Cleaner Home carpet collection, featuring Microban
• 16 new SureSoft solution-dyed polyesters

Phenix’s new Velocity rigid LVT, which fits between the higher priced Impulse and more affordable Momentum, features a core of extruded PVC and limestone and a backing of foamed EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) with a 22 mil wearlayer-Impulse’s wearlayer is 28 mil, while Momentum’s is 12 mil.

The firm’s new Point of View loose lay LVT-which is manufactured domestically-is featured in Phenix’s new Design Mix program, using the collection’s 15 colors in five color groupings. And Phenix has also created ten custom floor layouts that can be used with any color combinations to help customers create their own distinct floor designs. Also, Bold Statement is a new Stainmaster PetProtect LVT line that comes with a Uniclic locking system in seven designs-five wood-look planks and two stone-look tiles.

Phenix also debuted its new mainstreet business, Phenix on Main, which features two polypropylene broadlooms, two nylon 6,6 broadlooms, three polypropylene carpet tiles and four nylon 6,6 carpet tiles, along with luxury vinyl plank and tile. Also, Phenix’s three additions to the Cleaner Home collection-60-ounce Tranquil, 40-ounce Content and 30-ounce Serenity-all feature SureFresh treatments to eliminate odors and Microban antimocrobial protection. Phenix is the only mill with Microban-treated carpet.

At Surfaces, Armstrong Flooring, a leading domestic manufacturer of vinyl and hardwood products and some of the best vinyl plank flooring on the market, secured a location near one of the main entrances to the show, an open, uncluttered space where the firm showcased additions to its range of hardwood, LVT and rigid LVT products, along with new products featuring Diamond 10 technology and much more.

• New SKUs on Luxe Rigid Core
• Alterna Plank with Diamond 10 technology
• Paragon hardwood with Diamond 10 technology
• S-1841 Quiet Comfort floating underlayment, patent pending and made in the U.S.
• Diamond 10 technology on Duality Premium and CushionStep Better sheet vinyl
• New domestic hardwood, Appalachian Ridge, also with Diamond 10
• Partnership with Promoboxx dealer marketing support platform

Luxe Rigid Core, introduced in late 2015, was showcased in six new SKUs-four wood designs and two travertines-with the firm’s proprietary Diamond 10 technology, which creates an ultra-strong wearlayer from cultured diamonds in a urethane base. The 8mm cork-backed program, with a 20 mil wearlayer, now totals 20 SKUs.

Armstrong’s premium rigid LVT is Pryzm, notable for its melamine protective layer. On the affordable side is Rigid Core Elements, a 5mm product with a 12 mil wearlayer that targets the builder and multifamily markets. A step up from that is Rigid Core Vantage, which is 1mm thicker and sports a 20 mil wearlayer-half of its 60” planks feature in-register embossing.

Paragon, a 20 SKU solid hardwood line introduced late last year, is mostly oak, along with two hickory products, featuring a range of surface treatments, from linear scraping to wirebrushing in mostly deeper hues along with a pale whitewashed oak and a couple of warm, ruddy colors. And Appalachian Ridge, introduced at Surfaces, is another solid hardwood collection, offering ten SKUs in a range of constructions and colors-all made at the firm’s facility in Beverly, West Virginia.

The firm’s Elevate retail support program got a boost with Armstrong’s partnership with Promoboxx. Promoboxx enables retailers to share Armstrong’s social media content and programs-automated, on a schedule or a la carte-targeting local customers. Social media posts can also have customized messages attached to them. The program allows for a lot of flexibility to accommodate different budgets. For instance, retailers can spend $5 to get their message to 400 people or, at the other end, $750 for 60,000 views.

The focus at Mohawk Industries was not just about new products for its many brands, but also a new brand strategy (reflected in its booth design), a new marketing strategy for laminate flooring and a special honor for its CEO.

• Four new designs in Airo, the firm’s innovative and unique 100% PET carpet
• New SmartStrand designs
• All brands shown together in one big, open space to show connectivity
• Marketing laminate flooring as RevWood, “Wood Without Compromise”
• Wider, longer SolidTech rigid LVT
• LVT with in-register embossing
• Jeff Lorberbaum inducted into WFCA Hall of Fame

On Wednesday, January 31, in a ceremony held in Mohawk’s space on the show floor, Jeff Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries, was inducted into the World Floor Covering Association’s Hall of Fame. Lorberbaum has been CEO since the beginning of 2001, growing the firm from $3.3 billion to $9.5 billion in just 17 years, and strategically acquiring a range of global and regional flooring operations to become the largest flooring manufacturer in the world. Both of his parents, Shirley and Alan Lorberbaum, have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The strategy behind the “One Mohawk” booth design, which enfolded Mohawk’s brands into a single space, was to illustrate how Mohawk is approaching its brands less like a collection and more like a family. And part of what brings together the wide range of brands-the “master brands” like Karastan, Mohawk, IVC, Quick-Step, Aladdin for mainstreet, and Dal-Tile’s Marazzi, Daltile, Ragno and American Olean brands-is Mohawk’s service, delivery, technology and innovation, according to Karen Mendelsohn, Mohawk’s senior vice president of marketing.

When it comes to innovation, the firm’s Airo carpet leads the pack, with its 100% polyester construction, from backing to binder to face fiber. This year, the firm added four tonal cut piles to the offering, but the bigger focus was on communicating its attributes, with a focus on its hypoallergenic story, like how PET is naturally hydrophobic, repelling water, and how the elimination of latex reduces Airo’s allergenic profile.

Also interesting was Mohawk’s approach to marketing its laminate products. Citing focus groups showing that consumers tasked with separating faux looks from real wood will place laminates with solid and engineered hardwood, the firm has decided to market its laminate as wood flooring, calling it RevWood and RevWood Plus, with the tagline “Wood Without Compromise.” And to help lay the foundation for this strategy, the products will be marketed alongside TecWood, which is engineered hardwood and hybrid engineered (with an HDF core), and Solid Wood.

“Without Compromise” refers to consumers getting the hardwood look they want with the scratch and dent performance of laminate flooring. While RevWood has a beveled edge, RevWood Plus has a rolled edge that, combined with its protected joints and HydroSeal around the perimeter, creates a waterproof barrier. All of this makes for a high performance residential floor, ideal for families with pets. In fact, it comes with a comprehensive warranty that covers all manner of pet accidents.

In the LVT category, Mohawk introduced 11 products with in-register embossing, including four stone looks. The firm manufactures its own print film domestically, which has helped drive innovation. And the firm’s rigid LVT plant should be up and running by this summer.

Quick-Step is also doing some rebranding, introducing Quick-Step Tek to emphasize its performance story across its range of hard surface flooring.

• NatureTek is the new name for its laminate program, and NatureTek Plus is the firm’s waterproof laminate offering
• TrueTek is the firm’s engineered hardwood program
• EnduraTek covers its LVT offering

The firm introduced 24 new products to its NatureTek laminate program across four collections: the Colossia collection features massive planks, 9-7/16”x80-1/2”, with in-register embossing and a wirebrushed effect in eight designs; Natrona offers five white oak designs in European styling; Lavish is a line of five hickory visuals with skip saw effects; and Styleo, in six designs, focuses on rustic visuals with subtle whitewashing.

Mohawk Industries’ IVC US showcased its products in a corner quadrant of Mohawk’s massive space, debuting several new resilient collections.

• Urbane, a new LVT, boasts a chevron pattern in its wood look
• Two new sheet vinyl collections were introduced: Millright and Arterra
• Balterio, IVC’s line of performance laminate, launched six new products

Urbane is made up of wood and stone looks with a chevron pattern overlay to create a unique design that reduces plank repeats, and it’s embossed-in-register with four-edge painted microbevels. The construction is reinforced with woven fiberglass to create a highly rigid product, and to push the product’s stain and scratch resistance, IVC added a multi-wearlayer.

“Three powerhouse brands-one extraordinary family” is how the Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean brands joined forces to create an enormous Dal-Tile booth that was very popular with its many technological offerings, including iPads placed throughout the space. A virtual reality home was also available, alongside selfie stations and a 600-square-foot animated LED floor/wall main stage full of live presentations. An additional 1,200 square feet were devoted to video looping for the duration of the three-day event, asking on-lookers “Why tile?” and telling their brand story.

• American Olean’s new Union rectified color-body commercial porcelain tile, made in Dickson, Tennessee, is inspired by the Industrial Revolution era and uses Everlux Sync, which syncs the texture to the design-available in five colors and three sizes plus a mosaic with a basketweave effect
• Marazzi’s new Costa Clara, a ceramic wall tile with a translucent glaze, comes in ten colors and two sizes, 3”x12” and 6”x6”
• Daltile’s Chord is a collection with plaster and cement looks in porcelain tile in a warm, textured color palette, in 12”x24” tiles

Daltile also showcased its patent-pending StepWise slip resistance technology that is 50% more slip resistant than standard types of tile, according to the firm. StepWise is added during the manufacturing process-it’s sprayed on prior to firing.

Novalis, which manufactures LVT and WPC/SPC products, focused its show presentation on a new NovaFloor line, Serenbe, and a new protective coating for LVT, NovaShield, which is designed to withstand the scuffs and spills of household pets. According to the firm, NovaShield features an antimicrobial agent, is fade resistant, and “promises to be the most scuff and scratch resistant coating ever made.”

NovaShield has been rolled out on Serenbe, and the plan is to eventually offer it across all of Novalis’ NovaFloor lines.

Serenbe, an SPC product, comes in a gluedown or floating floor (NovaClic Fold Down) system, and the line includes both stone and wood looks. On the floor was a 12”x24” tile from the collection, called Stenciled Concrete, an overall concrete visual with a faded pattern of subtle distressed decos. Serenbe also includes 12 wood looks-mostly oaks in trendy hues-Calacatta and Carrara marble designs and Crackled Wood, a distressed wood visual with old paint effects.

Also noteworthy is a deco tile design, Ornamental Décor, in two patterns in the Abberly line, Distressed Concrete in Davidson, and 9”x60” WPC flooring planks in NovaCore XL.

Shaw Industries returned to Surfaces, after a 14-year absence, to launch it upscale Anderson-Tuftex brand with coordinating lines of carpet, area rugs and hardwood flooring. Standing tall in a sea of sameness, the presentation-with its two-story, fashion forward model home exhibit-was well received by the attending dealers. As the tagline for this brand, “Crafted with Care,” denotes, most of its products offer the consumer a distinctive artisan look.

• All 19 of the carpet and rug styles in the launch feature branded nylon fiber-17 are Stainmaster (Luxerell, Tactesse and PetProtect) nylon 6,6, and two are Anso Caress nylon 6
• Three standout products are Tavares, Tanzania and New Wave-all of which have pattern cut pile construction using Stainmaster Luxerell fiber
The brand’s hardwood offering is a blend of exotic, sawn, hand-stained and painted styles, 18 engineered and three solid. Two products worth highlighting are American Driftwood and Old World.
• American Driftwood is a solid Appalachian white oak in an 81/2” width and up to 82” long
• Old World, also Appalachian white oak, is an engineered hardwood with a wirebrushed finish, in both a 72” plank and a 24” herringbone format

Dealers who choose to offer Anderson Tuftex in their stores have a wide range of display options. They can go long and wide with a 20-foot carpet display and a 16-foot hardwood display, or they can opt for a more boutique offering.

Once again, Crossville came to Surfaces with an interactive space that showed how its porcelain tile styling enhances interior spaces-such as the retail coffee shop built within the space, which offered free crafted drinks to guests. Crossville, a privately owned, design-oriented market leader headquartered next to its factory in Crossville, Tennessee, also used its space to host an interior designer panel discussion called “Mixing with the Masters” that delved into the topic of integrating and coordinating interior finishes.

Two new tile collections launched at the show were Bohemia and Java Joint. Bohemia is a linen textured collection that is available in formats up to 24”x24” in eight colors with an unpolished finish. The collection also offers 3” square mosaics. And Java Joint is a neutral-toned product with subtle striations that comes in five colors. It features a 12”x24” field tile with 2” square mosaic accents.

The theme of Crossville’s exhibit was bold blends, and the space did a good job of showing how many of Crossville’s products can be coordinated and integrated into the same space, thanks to the firm’s complementary palettes. Due to Crossville’s focus on the specified commercial sector, the aesthetics for many of its products are refined and timeless.

A year ago, Belgium’s Balta Group acquired Bentley Mills, the West Coast commercial carpet manufacturer, and a few months later it went public on the Brussels Stock Exchange. At this year’s Surfaces, Balta showcased its wide range of carpet products.

• Balta Home’s woven area rug program, which mostly goes to home centers but is building its online business
• Made in Heaven, a new solution-dyed PET carpet program
• A range of polypropylene flatweave and Wilton woven indoor/outdoor products
• Solution-dyed nylon 6 broadloom in several styles
• Arc Edition carpet for the mainstreet and specified markets

What’s most impressive about Balta is the sheer range of products, from luxurious tufted products to crisp woven designs, all in 13’2” and 17’ widths. Notable carpet exhibited at the show include: Satino, a soft and sparkly piece-dyed Saxony carpet made of soft nylon in solid and heathered colorways; the Leonis collection of opulent soft polypropylene broadloom, including shag carpet and patterned goods, with face weights up to 110 ounces; and Balta’s Nature flatwoven carpet.

Balta also makes a residential carpet tile called LCT, a bitumen backed product that is particularly popular in Europe’s massive apartment market.

In 2017, Engineered Floors purchased Beaulieu’s assets and revamped its most popular products to show at Surfaces 2018. Beaulieu’s LVT program was shifted to rigid core products, keeping the original names to maintain continuity between the two brands, and some colors were updated. These new offerings are listed under the Triumph umbrella for rigid core products. Adventure II, Lux Haus II and New Standard II possess a higher indentation resistance and a higher stability than the original Beaulieu products. Both Adventure II and Lux Haus II come in nine SKUs with an attached cork backing like the original products. New Standard II is available in 12 SKUs and comes with a cushion backing.

Dream Weaver, Engineered Floors’ retail brand, introduced 21 new PureColor residential carpet products, including several featuring ColorBurst technology and PureBac backing systems. ColorBurst is a proprietary technology featuring small dots of color on the fiber for an almost pointillistic look. PureBac replaces the traditional latex and secondary backing with a needlepunched polyester felt bound to the primary with a polyurethane layer. All but five of the products are constructed from polyester.

Engineered Floors merged with J+J Flooring in 2016 and soon after created its new Pentz brand, a mainstreet commercial division. Polyester is traditionally used in residential carpet tile, but Pentz is also offering it in its commercial carpet tile, in Hoopla, Fanfare and Fiesta. The coordinating products are patterned in block, twig and linear designs.

The Apex SDP line of polyester products was launched at Surfaces 2017. It is a basic level loop, solid color tile. More products were built on this platform to create sophisticated patterns for 2018. The Nexus Modular Backing system is used on all eight colors. Premiere is another new addition to the Apex line of products, available in eight colors.

At Surfaces, Engineered Floors also launched its new Revotec rigid LVT. Revotec comes in both wood and stone aesthetics with click systems for floating floor installations. It is offered in four wood aesthetics that are available in a mixed width. Four stone looks are available in a 12”x24”, and another four stone looks come in a 12”x48” with a false grout line. The stone looks with the grout line can be installed in a staggered pattern or a grid pattern. Revotec is exclusively manufactured for the U.S. market.

MS International just reached a huge milestone by hitting $1 billion in annual sales. The company attributes its success to its employees; it provides 130,000 jobs across the world in its 24 facilities. The focus for 2018 product launches is MSI’s Stile Gauged Porcelain, which is a thinner, lighter product that can be installed over existing surfaces. While the large format tile can be installed as flooring, it is also ideal for countertops, showers, accent walls and backsplashes. The 118”x59” tile is available in a 6mm thickness, and the 126”x63” tile is available in both a 6mm or 12mm thickness. There are 13 colors.

Kaleen makes both area rugs and broadloom. Last month, it showed its rugs at the Las Vegas market and its carpet at Surfaces. Most noteworthy were its hand woven wool carpets made in India, including two space-dyed flatweaves: St. Croix, a gently irregular crosshatch design that was displayed on the floor; and St. Martin, with a dotted linear pattern. Another woven wool, Bungalow, features a basketweave construction that creates a large-scale plaid design.

The firm also introduced some fat, nubby, space-dyed products, including Beacon Hill and Cambridge. Most of Kaleen’s carpets are 13’2” wide, and some are also available in 16’4” widths.

US Floors’ Coretec vinyl flooring product lines of WPC flooring continue to expand. Three Coretec lines are now available, with roughly ten to 14 new SKUs in each line. All three lines are waterproof, kidproof and petproof.

Coretec Pro Plus has a 5mm wearlayer and is the most economical of the three lines
• Coretec Pro Plus Enhanced has a 7mm wearlayer and is available in planks and tiles
• Coretec Plus Premium is the most durable of the three and is constructed with a 12mm wearlayer

US Floors was acquired by Shaw Industries in late 2016. WPC machinery already on order before the acquisition was shipped to Shaw’s LVT facility in Ringgold, Georgia, where the firm intends to start domestic WPC production. 

The Dixie Group came to the show with over 150 new product introductions across its three residential brands-Fabrica, Masland and Dixie Home-both in carpet and hard surface flooring. Following up on its launch of LVT last year in the Dixie Home and Masland brands, the firm introduced a new hardwood program this year under the Fabrica brand.

Fabrica engineered hardwood flooring was introduced in 40 SKUs. French oak on Baltic birch plywood is 7” wide on a 1/2” platform, and is available in seven colors in plank and parquet formats; the 5/8” platform comes in red oak and maple veneers; and the 9” wide products come on a 3/4” platform. As for walls, 30 SKUs are available in six styles in five colors each.

In the soft surface arena, the firm had a strong focus on its Stainmaster branded nylon 6,6 programs with introductions across all three brands.

• Ten new beefier nylon styles under the Dixie Home brand at higher price points
• New Masland Energy line of mainstreet commercial carpet
• Updates to wool and nylon styling under the Masland and Fabrica brands-12 new wool products and 19 new nylon 6,6 products.

The other big news at Dixie was the retirement of Paul Comiskey, which took effect immediately after the show. Comiskey is moving to Key West with his wife after a 45-year career in the carpet industry. Under his ten-year leadership, Dixie’s residential business doubled in annual revenue. T.M. Nuckols now serves as the head of Dixie’s residential business.

Toward the end of last year, Inhaus successfully launched its Sono program, previewed at Surfaces 2017. What makes Sono notable is that it replaces the traditional fiberboard core with a core made of polypropylene and ceramic powders, creating a truly waterproof laminate product. And rather than paper layers on top-including melamine-the firm prints directly on the core and protects the surface with four coats of industrial acrylic.

Inhaus introduced three new collections to Sono. The flagship collection, Classic Estate, is a 12mm product with in-register embossing in a range of wood looks; Authentic Elegance, a 10mm laminate, focuses on fashion forward and experimental looks, like rustic whitewashed designs, concrete/textile blends and hardwood visuals overlaid with faded tile motifs. Original Heritage, an 8mm product, focuses on hickory looks.

New Jersey-based Congoleum created some fresh energy at Surfaces by launching its Cleo Home brand for its new innovative limestone resilient floorcovering with striking digital visuals. One of the biggest news items from a marketing perspective is that the company is purposely moving away from using the Congoleum brand on this product, in an effort to start clean with a new image and and its non-PVC program.

• Waterproof PVC-free composite core with 85% limestone
• Four formats offering planks, rectangles and squares in 60 SKUs
• Image direct printed on the core with clear coat layer and Scotchgard Urethane wear surface
• Visuals are 60% wood, and the rest are fashion-forward creative designs like distressed decos and fabric looks
• Lifetime warranty, made in the U.S.
• Direct glue installation

New 10’ wide retail displays are available to ship mid-April. This product is produced in New Jersey at the same factory that’s been producing the firm’s DuraCeramic offering.

Standing by its “Carpet Reinvented” slogan, Foss reports that it has experienced double-digit growth every year for the last six years. Its newest introductions are created for both residential and commercial applications. What Foss has “reinvented” in these new products is their construction. Made from 100% recycled PET bottles, the nonwoven needlepunched products don’t use any latex in the backing process. Instead, the back half of the carpet is melted so that no secondary backing is required, creating a highly durable product that boasts the performance of hard surface.

• DuraKnit is the response to consumers who want a broadloom product that can be installed over a pad
• Dura-Lock is a carpet tile made of Foss’ Eco-fi PET fiber
• Foss’ products are guaranteed to never fray, zipper or unravel

Foss also introduced its new Destination Display for its Dura-Lock products. The display hosts ten tile wing cards, eight architect folders, two tile hand cards and four mini deckboards-and it’s only 36” wide and 24” deep.

With the launch of Korlok last May, Karndean now offers three distinct product types: gluedown LVT, loose lay LVT and Korlok rigid LVT with a Välinge 5G locking system. In late 2017, the firm came out with Korlok Select in 9”x56” planks. And at the show, Karndean previewed Korlok Plus, a 7”x48” plank with the same 20 mil wearlayer as other Korlok products but with a 2G locking system. Korlok Plus comes in 12 colors, including charcoal, grey and natural hues with subtle timeworn and rustic visuals.

Also on display was Knight Tile, a refreshing collection that goes beyond wood looks to also offer stone visuals in square and rectangular formats. And the firm added six SKUs (including one stone look) to its Opus commercial grade LVT.

For its gluedown products, Karndean offers 1/4” or 1/8” grout strips (made of LVT) for an upscale installed look.

Mullican Flooring, the privately owned hardwood producer based in Johnson City, Tennessee, continues to raise the bar on its visuals as it builds on the Wexford Eurosawn look that it introduced last fall. While Wexford is available in both solid and engineered construction, Mullican used the Surfaces expo to launch two more sawn engineered collections, Dumont and Astoria, both of which are 1/2” thick and 5” wide with a 3mm sawn veneer, and made in the U.S.

• Astoria was the most popular new introduction with its lower gloss level and grey and white tone shading on wirebrushed white oak
• Dumont has a more traditional smooth finish in both red and white oak with a higher gloss level

Also, at a lower price point, Mullican introduced the Hadley collection with a peeled veneer face that comes in a 7” wide plank in four colors.

Forbo came to the show with its Marmoleum linoleum and Flotex flocked nylon floorcovering, showcasing some important innovations in design and construction. While most of these innovations have already been introduced in the commercial market, which is where Forbo does the bulk of its business in the U.S., the firm has been focusing on expanding its residential business. And with the trends toward European styling, it’s good timing.

For instance, its wood designs on Flotex come at a time when wood looks have saturated every hard surface flooring category, and designers are seeking out new directions. Flotex is an extremely low profile product with a face of densely flocked nylon and a PVC back. Its wood looks come in 10”x20” tiles.

Its Marmoleum program is even more compelling, and is transforming the linoleum category with wood designs with textured graining, embossed slate-look tiles, and linoleum that uses cocoa shells, presumably to make Marmoleum even greener than it already is.

Making its debut, American OEM’s Hearthwood brand introduced 24 SKUs of engineered hardwood, ranging from traditional to contemporary. The booth was decorated with an enormous tree, representing the “Deep Roots” motto that references the family’s lineage, tracing back four generations. Sixteen of the products are high-end, sliced-face, linear-grain products with a great deal of texture variation.

• Controlled Chaos is a brushed white oak with wide color variation
• Dynamic Earth is hand-sculpted white oak in a reclaimed barnwood look
• Tall Timbers is a classic Americana look captured in a hand-sculpted hickory
• Au Naturelle mimics a European low-gloss style in a brushed white oak

The remaining SKUs are entry-level products that are rotary sliced with a thinner face. Everything comes in lengths up to 8’ and is available in contemporary looks. All Hearthwood products are manufactured in the U.S.

Somerset’s booth floor was covered with some of the hardwood producer’s most popular products, including Winter Wheat from its Hand Crafted collection of engineered flooring. Perched atop these floorcoverings was Somerset’s new Total Options bin display, which has the ability to showcase all of Somerset’s 201 SKUs. The compact integrated bin display holds 65 product sample boards to show the various solid and engineered flooring options.

Emily Morrow Home, launched in 2015 by industry veteran Emily Morrow Finkell, offers a range of American made sawn-face engineered hardwoods, all 5/8” thick and 7” wide-and up to 8’ long-manufactured by American OEM in Tennessee. The firm offers furniture as well, also made in the U.S., along with lighting and pillows, in four lifestyle categories: Coastal Luxe, Refined Traditions, Raw Beauty and Rugged Industrial.

The overall theme of the hardwood products is authenticity. What Finkell has done is produce a range of on-trend looks, all elevated to distinguish them from faux looks. There’s a lot of LVT, porcelain and laminate product out there that might fool people into thinking it’s real wood, but nobody’s going to be confused about Finkell’s 12 hardwoods-their authenticity is unmistakable.

Authentic Luxury, for instance, from the Rugged Industrial line, is a sliced white oak with blackened cracks and splits. Also under Rugged Industrialist is Jet Stream, a sliced walnut that is whitewashed and hand-chiseled in mesmerizing irregular linear bands. And under Raw Beauty is Beach Confidential with subtle skip saw marks that highlight the cerusing.

The big news at WE Cork was the introduction of roll goods. The 54” wide rolls come in a wide range of visuals, and offer a unique alternative to the LVT trend. And cork’s acoustical and thermal insulation-and comfort underfoot-is hard to beat. The rolls run about 18’ long.

The firm also had on display its Corkoleum, a cork veneer backed in a rubber and cork blend. And it introduced wall coverings in two styles: The Bark and The Brick.

Sy Cohen, Stanton’s founder, lived near Stanton Street in SoHo in lower Manhattan as a child and named the company after it. Stanton’s latest introduction, Stanton Street-another nod to Cohen’s roots-is a decorative mainstreet commercial program in both broadloom and carpet tile. The tiles come in four different styles: three 20”x20” squares and one plank. High Line in Shadow is a primarily grey product with black strokes. On the opposite end of the color spectrum is Amplitude and Magnitude in vibrant colors with names like Mandarin and Electric Green.

Stanton’s high-end Rosecore brand added Swoon and Soiree to its Nexus collection. The Nexus additions are hand-loomed using nylon 6 with random tip-shearing for a highly textured and dense look. In the past, many of the products were constructed with Tencel, which is similar to rayon, but nylon 6 has turned out to be an improvement, in part because of better cleanability.

Crescent’s Cabana collection added three new patterns and seven colors to its broadloom. And Antrim’s latest broadloom additions, Energize and Enlighten, offer rich, saturated colors.

The family owned, Italian-based Del Conca recently doubled the capacity at its Loudon, Tennessee facility in order to offer more U.S. made products and more technically advanced products, in addition to expanding the range of sizes produced. The firm had several new offerings at Surfaces 2018, including La Scala, a limestone visual in three colors, and Midtown, a beautiful stone visual consisting of a light and dark marble and two directional travertines.

Celebrating 40 years, Earthwerks, with over 300 SKUs, decided to simplify its offering by separating its products into three categories: the Development line, Performance line and Core line.

• The Noble Classic Plus SPC collection is new to the Core line
• A gluedown version in Noble Classic sizes is now available, called Wood Classic II
• At 72”, Parkhill Plus XXL is the longest addition to the Core line

Noble Classic Plus SPC features 12 SKUs of embossed-in-register, high-density products available in 8”x48” and 91/2”x60” planks. Aimed at the higher end, this collection is also a high-performance product with a cushion backing.

The Performance line is made up of products with 20 mil wearlayers. The heavier construction makes it ideal for commercial applications. All SPC and WPC products fall under the Core line.
The Development line is made up of products with 12 mil wearlayers or below. Chassis, the newest introduction to the line, offers four planks and two tiles with 6 mil wearlayers and is ideal for multifamily applications.

CFL (Creative Flooring Solutions), previously known as China Floors, is a major flooring producer headquartered near Shanghai, China with annual sales of approximately $250 million, producing solid hardwood, laminates and rigid LVT (both WPC and SPC). The firm also offers a water resistant laminate with a modified core.

Much of the focus in the U.S. market is on FirmFit, CFL’s rigid LVT, with a dense core of limestone and PVC. The firm reports that it is the largest producer of rigid core (SPC) LVT in the world. And it’s doubling capacity this year and adding new technologies. CFL has distribution partners covering all of the U.S. and Canada, and also has a strong presence in Europe and Australia. In China, it has 200 retail stores.

FirmFit comes in a range of qualities. Its entry-level offering is a wood look atop the rigid core, and upgrades include an embossed-in-register (EIR) surface, EIR on long planks up to 71/2”x60”, and at the top of the line, FirmFit Wood, which uses a 0.6mm real wood veneer of oak, hickory or walnut.

Samling Global USA, a division of Malaysia’s Samling, a lumber and forestry firm, operates three mills in China. One makes engineered wood, another makes solid wood and product coming from the third is yet to be announced. The firm has been working with North American distributors for years with private label programs. Having saturated the market, Samling is now promoting its own brand, with an engineered hardwood brand called Air (marketed as ai.r) with zero added formaldehyde.

The line features 40 SKUs across nine collections. Species include acacia, betula, North American maple, hickory and white oak. White oak is the biggest, spanning three collections. Most of the products come in 71/2” widths and 6’ lengths. The line also includes a 3” strip product called Ashling Birch, made of betula in 5’ lengths. And the six maple SKUs include two that are treated with reactive processes, akin to fuming. The reactive process is also used on some of the wirebrushed white oaks.

Established in 2012, Happy Feet International started with one product line and now boasts approximately 13 different lines. Its new StoneTec rigid core technology was on display in both the Stone Elegance and Biltmore LVT collections.

Stone Elegance with its Click Lock planks are 4.2mm thick with a 12 mil wearlayer and a 2mm attached backing, available in six wood-look colors. The floating luxury vinyl plank is recommended for residential and light commercial use.

Happy Feet reports that Biltmore, another floating vinyl luxury plank product, is proving to be popular. The planks are 5mm thick with a 1.5mm cork backing and a 30 mil wearlayer. Biltmore is embossed with a painted bevel and is offered in six wood looks.

Known in the industry for its Berber carpet patterns, Southwind introduced 27 new carpet products in addition to a number of new hard surface products, including its Authentic Tile. Six new LCL products and six ColorPoint offerings make up a portion of the soft surface additions.

The new Classic Traditions broadloom is made of solution-dyed soft polyester, and the LCLs are made with a 36-ounce face weight. The ColorPoint additions are running approximately 38-ounce face weights.

• The Aurora collection was introduced with six products made of soft solution-dyed PET
• Two new Berbers were added: Mojave and Kalahari
• New colors were added to Starlight, Southwind’s top selling carpet product
• New colors were added to Callaway, a textured loop product
• Sisal Coir carpets, mostly in browns, are getting new grey introductions
• 25 carpet styles have been discontinued to make room for new additions
• Six new colors were added to both Harbor Plank and Authentic Plank WPC flooring products

Authentic Tile is Southwind’s newest hard surface addition. It is a click system with a grouted look built into the pattern and is available in 12”x24” tiles with a 12 mil urethane wearlayer with double UV coating. Six colorways are offered. Southwind plans to continue to build on its Authentic products and will eventually place Authentic Tile in its own display next to Authentic Plank.

Established in 1975, Momeni has always focused on traditional, higher-end hand-knotted area rugs. Fifty percent of its broadloom is cut for custom area rugs. Momeni is known for its wool products, and at Surfaces it introduced a number of flatweave and hand-loomed broadlooms in wool blends.

• Obsession is made up of 70% wool and 30% viscose, and comes in three colors
• Unique is a flatweave in a Southwestern look, also 70% wool/30% viscose
• Shimmer, a velvety look, is a mid-range product that comes in three colors

Momeni is now offering a selection of products in both area rugs and broadloom. Retailers can now display the area rugs, reducing the amount of space required to display broadloom, and they have an area rug product they can sell rather than getting stuck with samples.

Preverco’s new FX series is designed using reactive stains that provide a rustic look on two different platforms. Genius16 is engineered in 5” and 7” widths with a hardwood top layer on Canadian plywood. Max19 is a hardwood layer on top of a vertical quartersawn softwood filleted core and a backer, and is also available in 5” and 7” widths.

A visualizer for viewing Preverco products in any room is now available on the website. The option to upload an image from a residence allows potential customers the ability to visualize any of Preverco’s products within their own homes.

In early 2013, Gulistan, which started out in 1924 producing area rugs, declared bankruptcy. A couple of years ago, Lonesome Oak Trading Company picked up the name, with the intent of running it as a higher end division. And this year’s Surfaces marked the debut of the resurrected brand.

Half of Gulistan’s line uses Stainmaster solution-dyed nylon 6,6, and the rest is solution-dyed polyester extruded in-house, for a total of 180 SKUs across 20 styles. Eight of the ten Stainmster styles are PetProtect products, including several premium broadlooms with higher face weights. Nylon designs range from LCL patterns to cut and loop and textured loop products, using both solid and barberpole yarns. The PET line also features a range of looks, including classic trellis and Moroccan tile patterns, LCL designs and more.

Mimicking chevron style parquet floors from 16th century France, Urban Floors’ Timbertop Chevron Series consists of four European oak colors with oiled finishes. Zanzibar, Urban Floor’s light grey offering, adorned the booth floor and was reported to be among visitor favorites. There are four colors in total with a smoked finish and smooth texture.

The Timber Top Lifestyle Series showcased six colors that utilize a reactive stain in the finishing process. The stain, which is colorless, reacts to the graining and knots in the wood, creating a unique, natural look. One plank takes 15 to 20 days to make. Both Timber Top Series come with a 35-year finish warranty.

StonePeak previewed a couple of porcelain products at the show, including Stonecrete, with a visual that blends stone and concrete visuals. Also on display was the Highland collection, introduced last year, a linear travertine look displayed in both honed and polished formats in White, Greige, Beige, Dark Greige and Cocoa.

The firm plans on starting production of its 6mm thin tile in its Tennessee facility later this month.

A manufacturer of area rugs, broadloom carpet, roll runners and custom rugs for both the residential and hospitality markets, Couristan introduced 86 new products across its three premium broadloom brands: Premier, Creations and Purity. The focus of the new introductions was color. Each new line offers up a wide selection of unique color options.

• Dazzle, made of 100% wool, boasts Lurex metallic accents and comes in four colors
• Razzle, Dazzle’s sibling, has a diamond pattern across four colors
• Sallow is a hand-loomed looped pile available in five neutrals
• Daze of Color is available in eight colors, including Waterfall and Tidal Lagoon
• Sweet Treats is 100% wool and comes in colors such as Tropical Punch and Blue Currant
• Sullivan’s Island is hand-loomed with 100% Courtron polypropylene in Marine, Pearl Dune and Opal Sand

In addition to the new products, Couristan is offering retailers a new display that will house all three premium brands. The 96-pin frame display gives the new looks a more modern display option.

Florim USA came to the show with a range of products under its new brand name, Milestone, including Essence, Stoffa, Millennial, Revival, Breccia and Wood Medley. A standout is Stoffa, with field tiles in a linear stone design that looks almost hand-painted, and it features three distinct deco tiles, including a stylized flower design on a fractured fabric grid. Breccia, on the other hand, captures the dramatic realism of breccia stone with effects that seem almost translucent. And Wood Medley features a multi-width visual with dramatic color range, particularly in the darker colorways.

Välinge, the innovative Swedish firm that first brought click systems to hard surface flooring, has been focusing a lot of its efforts on its Nadura and Woodura technologies, which press wood powder with melamine onto HDF cores to create a high performance product. With Nadura, visuals are directly printed onto the pressed powder layer, and with Woodura, the powder layer is topped with a real wood veneer, with the powder forced through the pores to convey surface protection. The firm has acquired an additional facility from its holding company, Pervanovo Invest AB, to boost production and serve the growing market, which is strongest in Europe.

At the beginning of the year, KIRKBI, the holding company of the Kirk Kristiansen family, acquired a minority (49.8%) share in Välinge, enabling the firm to unlock investments behind new technologies.

At the show, Välinge also unveiled Liteback Sustainable Core Technology, which can reduce LVT weights by up to 20% through a system that removes grooves of material from the backing of the product, which can then be recycled back into new product. The process, using Homag machinery, has no impact on quality and performance. According to the firm, in most cases the investment pays for itself within a year or less.

Emser Tile, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, has manufacturing partners all across the world for porcelain and ceramic tile, a range of natural stones, quarry tile, glass mosaics and more. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Emser introduced 20 new products at the show, ranging from wall tiles to mosaics in porcelain and natural stone.

• Porch is a glazed porcelain that will be released in the next few months
• Lakehouse and Lakewood are complementary wood-look porcelain tiles
• Façade is a highly textured burlap-look porcelain tile in four neutral colors
• Vicenza is a floor, wall or accent marble tile that comes in two colors: Nite and Cloud
• Terazio is a glazed porcelain tile that mimics terrazzo for both residential and commercial use

Emser received a lot of positive feedback about Porch at the show. The four available colors have an ombré effect and when combined with the three random sizes produce a unique patterned look.

Eagle Creek came out with 16 new hard surface SKUs at this year’s show, including four 9mm WPC products with attached EVA backs and beveled edges, targeting higher price points in an effort to steer clear of the race to the bottom. And on the rigid core (SPC) side, it introduced another four, also beveled, in 9”x72” oak-look planks. And the different colors, which are generally cool and running from pale naturals to greys to deeper, smokier hues, all have a lot of depth and visual interest.

In hardwood, Eagle Creek came out with five memorable maples, updated from the clear maples of old with trendy urban colors, skip saw marks and plenty of character. And it added a 9”x86” oak and a 71/2”x72” hickory to the high-end Woca oil finished line it added last year, for a total of ten SKUs.

Nox, a leading LVT manufacturer based in South Korea, is focused on its technology for 2018. Its new Matrix Core Technology (MCT) in its gluedown LVT is designed to reduce or eliminate subfloor preparation.

Nox Genesis hybrid LVT flooring challenges WPC by providing a higher impact resistance and temperature tolerance. Compared to rigid core, Genesis is more flexible and considerably lighter. It also incorporates Nox’s Sound Protec acoustic performance technology.

Lauzon, which manufactures hardwood flooring in Quebec, Canada, is vertically integrated from the forest to the mill. Lauzon uses approximately 70% of its logs in the manufacture of flooring and sells what it does not use to paper factories or turns it into a heat source for its facilities.

The firm had several new and noteworthy collections on display at this year’s show, including the Estate Series of ¾” engineered white oak with Lauzon’s Pure Genius titanium dioxide finish. It is 61/4” wide and in multiple lengths and herringbone. Also, new colors have been added to several of its more popular collections, such as the Authentik Series and the Urban Loft series, with the greys being in particularly high demand.

Mimicking the Luxor hotel next door to the show in Mandalay Bay, a pyramid constructed with Johnson Premium Hardwood’s new waterproof Reservoir series demonstrated its capabilities through a continuous flow of water over the structure. The waterproof wood floor is constructed with a wood veneer over a rigid core. The veneer comes in maple, oak, hickory and walnut. Planks are 61/2” wide and 4’ long. Reservoir is available with a pre-attached pad and comes in 11 SKUs. A QR code is available on each product’s retail display board, allowing customers the option to view the flooring in a room scene.

All of Radici USA’s products are manufactured in Italy and distributed throughout the U.S. from its facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The firm produces tufted and woven carpets and machine-made area rugs and had several new collections on hand at the show. Radici also announced that it is branching into the handwoven rug arena with three new collections that are being made in India: the Naturale collection is a wool and hemp blend; the Fascinofa collection is 100% wool; and the Bellissima collection is a wool blend with cotton and viscose. The rugs come in six stock sizes and are also available in custom sizes.

Innovations4Flooring announced that it is now going to the market as simply I4F. This rebranding is designed to encompass the numerous new technologies, patents and partnerships it will be establishing going forward. I4F, one of three players in the floorcovering intellectual property business, revealed several key partnerships in 2017 leading up to the rebrand announcement.

I4F has aligned with the Classen Group to continue developing locking technology, manufacturing processes, digital printing processes, laminate processes and the composition of materials. It partnered with Kowon R&C Corporation and Windmöller on patent rights for WPC and LVT. Kronospan came aboard as the largest MDF and HDF manufacturer.

Quality Craft, based near Vancouver, British Columbia, produces LVT, rigid LVT and engineered hardwood through manufacturing partnerships in China, overseen by on-site Quality Craft teams. At the show, the firm unveiled Stone Core Vinyl SPC in several hardwood colors, with Välinge 5G click systems. And coming in the next few months is Stone Core Vinyl topped with real hardwood veneers.

What distinguishes Quality Craft is its ability to customize. For instance, its SPC flooring can be ordered with in-register embossing, with a lead time of less than 12 weeks.

Last year saw the appointment of Dennis Hale as president. Hale was previously vice president of marketing and sales at Belwith Products. And just before the show, Dave Bickel, a veteran of the home and building products industry, was named senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Landmark Ceramics, which is part of Italy’s Gruppo Concorde, opened its state-of-the-art production facility in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee in 2016. At Surfaces 2018, it was showcasing its Frontier20 porcelain pavers, which can be used outside or indoors. These 20mm pavers do not have to be put down on a concrete slab; they can be laid on grass, sand or gravel. They can also be installed over reinforced concrete or used in a raised floor application. Frontier20 has a complete range of trim and accent pieces, available in a variety of wood, concrete and natural stone visuals.

Landmark Ceramics plans to introduce several new products and collections later this spring.

The popular Himalaya Collection that Kane Carpet introduced in 2014, and which continues to be a favorite among Kane’s consumers, was enhanced this year with the addition of Bangalore, a Wilton weave with a hand-carved look. The Tibetan-inspired design is made with ultra fine heatset Eurolon (polypropylene) and polyester yarn. A neutral color palette makes up the solution-dyed offerings.

Canadian hardwood manufacturer Mercier introduced two new stains to the Treasure style from the Design Plus collection. In addition, the firm unveiled a new color, Metropolis, to the Nature collection and added two new colors to its Elegancia collection.

Italian tile maker Fiandre manufactures product in Italy and in Crossville, Tennessee both for Fiandre and for its North American brand, StonePeak. Originally introduced at Italy’s Cersaie show last fall, Dark Marquina from the Marmi Maximum style is a dramatic black Spanish marble (nero marquina) visual that comes in a variety of sizes up to 60”x120”. Also featured at the show was Eminent Wood Maximum, a captivating petrified wood look that comes in two colorways, Eminent Brown and Eminent Grey, both with a lot of internal color range.

Even though Canadian manufacturer American Biltrite is primarily a commercial manufacturer, the firm continues to exhibit at Surfaces and feels that it is a worthwhile investment. This year it was showing its new N-Fuse technology on AB Pure Rubber products. This technology increases stain and wear resistance and requires no set up.

Beauflor opened a U.S.-based facility in Cartersville, Georgia in 2016 and currently manufactures only vinyl sheet. Its new Boardwalk collection is an embossed-in-register wood- and stone-look SPC with painted bevels that is manufactured in Asia. It offers ample installation and design options. Boardwalk is easy to install and disassemble with its fold and lock system. It is available in 14 SKUs with 5”, 7” and 9” planks in a 60” length with one 12”x24” tile.

Prestige Mills offered some of the most captivating and intricate products at the show, including a carpet called Lorimar, a domestically produced face-to-face Wilton weave in wool, shown on the floor in Denim. The firm also had some great Belgian indoor/outdoor products woven from UV treated polypropylene, featuring complex weaving patterns in crisp, vivid colors-like shades of blue with greys and offwhite accents in Bolivia, and red, off-white and mixed brown yarns in Colombia.

Another innovative construction was a polypropylene/polyester blend, with shrinkage from the polyester creating a high-low effect that was employed to create a range of textures, includes a bold abstract pattern in Ananda that looks like some of the biophilic designs trending in the commercial market.

Harris Wood introduced its newest Luxury Vinyl Cork (LVC) product additions. The LVC products are made up of a thin wood-look wearlayer with a cork composite core and a vinyl underlay. Previously available in a 5” width, the four new products are offered in a 75/8” width. The LVC products are waterproof and flexible and are available in a 21 mil wearlayer, making them ideal for commercial applications. Driftwood Oak and Natural Beech are embossed, while Oatmeal Pine and Henna Oak are embossed-in-register.

Amorim showcased its ECOx2 sound control underlayment at this year’s Surfaces. This lightweight underlayment is approved for use with most gluedown and floating luxury vinyl plank flooring and is ideal for use in multifamily and apartment renovations. Amorim also added several new colors to its recycled rubber sports flooring program.

Nourison, the New Jersey carpet and rug producer, came to the show with a swath of products in a range of constructions and patterns. Area rug collections from Christopher Guy, Calvin Klein, Kathy Ireland and Portfolio were introduced. And the new Barclay Butera Lido area rug collection debuted at the Las Vegas Market, coinciding with Surfaces.

• Barclay Butera Lido is an art-inspired collection of indoor and outdoor area rugs
• Brushworks Collection comes in two broadloom patterns: Diffused and Variegated
• Also new, Leopard Point and Kiawah Chevron broadlooms

Diffused and Variegated, both woven Axminsters, are made with 80% wool and 20% nylon in a 12’8” width. Diffused is an abstract artistic look while Variegated’s color against a neutral background appears as though it were applied with brush strokes.

Leopard Point ranges in color from light grey to gold to dark brown leopard print patterns. The machine-made collection boasts a printed pattern applied to a 50% New Zealand wool and 50% Nourlon high-luster nylon construction.

Kiawah Chevron, just as its name indicates, is a chevron pattern available in five neutrals, ranging from ivory to charcoal. The hand-loomed offering comes in a 15’ width and is made of 30% wool and 70% polyester.

In addition to its new collections, Nourison announced certification by RFMS and QFloors in the fcB2B software standards, allowing for direct integration with any user of the two platforms, thus streamlining order communication.

HPS Schönox, one of the fastest growing brands in the subfloor prep business, continues to add talent to manage its growth, especially now that Schönox’s new “We’re on it.” marketing message has a service commitment built into it. Moving forward, the brand is focused on communicating that, if you’ve got a subfloor problem, call them. This year, the firm introduced eight new products.

• An acrylic moisture barrier for residual moisture up to 96% RH
• Five new cement-based floor prep products
• A two-part silicate-based crack filler
• A new clear thin-spread acrylic adhesive for VCT applications

Schönox also used the show to announce the winners of the fourth edition of its Man vs. Floor worst subfloor contest.

As more and more flooring retailers see the value of having an integrated website as a virtual front door, Creating Your Space (CYS) is growing its client base and the tools it uses to bring qualified consumer traffic to them. The firm came to Surfaces to draw new retailers by offering attractive discounts to new customers. Retailers can choose between five different packages, depending on the services they seek. In addition to building custom websites for flooring retailers, CYS offers: search engine optimization, pay per click, reputation management, online reviews, CRM lead management, email marketing and social media.

Ardex, which includes the Henry brand, came out with a slew of products at Surfaces, including several for flooring prep and installation.

• Ardex K 60 Arditex rapid setting latex smoothing and leveling compound
• Henry 695 high RH vinyl flooring adhesive
• Henry 647 PlumPro fast-track, roller-applied vinyl adhesive
• Ardex MRF moisture-resistant, rapid-drying, skimcoat patching underlayment
• Ardex VSR 98 fast-track, one-component moisture vapor retarder
• Ardex K 22 F high flow, fiber-reinforced self-leveling underlayment

Henry 647 PlumPro is literally plum colored, instead of the standard off-white, to ensure that installers know when they have full coverage. The 95% RH adhesive flashes off within seven to ten minutes, at which point floorcoverings can be installed. And as soon as the flooring is down, the space can be utilized.

Ardex MRF, a 100% RH underlayment, can go below or above a vapor barrier and can also be used outdoors, down to 40º F without losing handling characteristics, including feather finish.
Laticrete, the Connecticut-based global supplier of flooring products and services, came to Surfaces this year with a long list of new products plus a product demonstration stage to show the ease of use and benefits of these new products.

• Strata Heat floor heating system complete with WiFi enabled thermostat
• 257 Titanium lightweight thinset mortar for gauged porcelain panels
• Spartacote Urethane Cement, a two-part wear surface for heavy duty environments
• Prime-N-Bond floor primer that enhances adhesion to smooth non-absorptive substrates
• Hydro Ban Board, a lightweight, waterproof backer board for tile applications
Celebrating 80 years in business, Roberts, a QEP brand, held a drawing for a chance to win a 1938 Dodge truck in its signature colors of red and black, and it introduced ten products.
• Three construction adhesives: Roberts 30 for drywall, Roberts 40 for subfloors and Roberts 50 for extreme construction applications
• Roberts 7000 QuickBond spray adhesive for LVT, VCT and sheet vinyl
• Roberts 5350 pressure sensitive adhesive for rubber sheet
• Roberts 2350 pressure sensitive adhesive for hard-set resilient flooring
• Roberts 7500 vinyl seam sealer, to complement the other resilient products
• Roberts 1660 Lockdown pressure sensitive wood adhesive, offered in a four-gallon bucket
• Roberts 1938 Bubble Repair, a throwback product used to install carpet and vinyl products
• Roberts 2018 Tack & Crack, a tackstrip adhesive and crack/joint filler

A myriad of tools and updated products were also on display, including an LFT Manual Tile Cutter and a limited edition bright red toolbox. Roberts also launched a new logo for 2018.

RFMS has been creating flooring industry specific software for the commercial, builder, retail, multifamily and distributor segments since 1982. It showcased new products at this year’s Surfaces, including Business Insights, which provides key performance indicators, such as sales, gross margin, expenses and sales agent performance, giving dealers the information they need to determine how they compare to the flooring industry overall.

New in 2018 for Schluter Systems is its Ditra-heat Wi-Fi Thermostat, which allows users to control floor heating systems from their smartphone or online. It offers six programmable periods per day and helps track energy consumption and costs.

Bostik is adding new colors to its Dimension RapidCure urethane grout line, which contains reflective micro-glass beads and a translucent urethane binder that both reflects light and allows it to pass through. The new color, Snowflake, is made up of 60% recycled glass.

At this year’s show, MP Global unveiled Quiet Walk Plus, an underlayment originally designed for floating floor materials, now with re-formulated fibers and vapor barriers to allow for use with nail and gluedown applications as well.

QFloors’ new Mobile Office Suite allows floorcovering dealers to “take their office with them.” With the Office Suite, dealers can measure and estimate, check stock, create and email proposals, get a signature and process a credit card-all on a mobile device. Also, QFloors released QPro POS+ cloud software. The software program runs completely in a web browser, representing a newer type of browser-based cloud technology. Eventually all current QFloors customers will be grandfathered into the software at no additional cost.

DriTac showcased its new look at Surfaces, introducing a new logo along with the tag line “Adhering to Excellence.” This new look follows its introduction of a new, more user-friendly website last year. DriTac also showcased its two new underlayments, a new arena for the adhesive manufacturer. DriTac 8301 is an acoustical underlayment designed for use with resilient flooring installations, and DriTac 8302 underlayment is for use with wood and laminate flooring installations.

Related Topics:Coverings, Kaleen Rugs & Broadloom, Masland Carpets & Rugs, Stonepeak Ceramics, The International Surface Event (TISE), Florim USA, Domotex, Marazzi USA, Couristan, RD Weis, American Olean, Phenix Flooring, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Laticrete, Daltile, Mannington Mills, Bostik, CERSAIE , Armstrong Flooring, Creating Your Space, Fuse Alliance, Engineered Floors, LLC, Anderson Tuftex, The Dixie Group, Great Floors, Tuftex, Schluter®-Systems, Novalis Innovative Flooring, Carpets Plus Color Tile, Crossville, Karastan, Mohawk Industries, Beaulieu International Group, Fuse