Surfaces 2023 Review: The annual flooring show is back to pre-pandemic form - March 2023

By Darius Helm, Jennifer Bardoner and Anne Harr

This year’s Surfaces show, held in Las Vegas as part of the TISE event that includes TileExpo and StonExpo, was the busiest it’s been since 2020. All the players, large and small, exhibited at the show, with the exception of some of the key hardwood producers. The show was busy for all three days, though closing at 4:00 p.m. on the first two days and at 2:00 p.m. on the final day may have upped the concentration of attendees on the show floor.

There were nearly 600 exhibitors at the show, up over 20% from last year. International exhibitors were still somewhat below historical norms, accounting for about 20% of all exhibitors. New show features included a pavilion for higher-end rugs, as well as content-focused theaters for Surfaces, TileExpo and StonExpo.

The Mandalay Bay venue for the event is in the midst of a renovation of its convention area. One big change this year was new Durkan carpet in the hallways outside the show floor, replacing the fire-tone design of abstract curvy geometries with a colorful and expansive botanical theme.

This year, the show was held at the same time as the International Builder Show, the National Hardware Show, the Kitchen & Bath Show and Las Vegas Market-all combining for a massive Design and Construction Week-with TISE badges ensuring free registration at all the shows and a free shuttle service to help attendees move around. Unfortunately, however, this also created higher airfare and hotel rates, making attending the shows this year more expensive than it’s ever been.

TRENDS IN PRODUCT AND CONSTRUCTION
After a full decade of rigid LVT in the U.S. market, during which time it has driven resilient flooring growth-last year, resilient became the largest revenue producing flooring category, unseating carpet-we’re starting to see some important shifts in the category. Most notable has been the development of hybrid products; LVT products are increasingly experimenting with the melamine layers that have historically given the laminate category such good scratch resistance, while laminates are modifying their cores to compete with the waterproof properties of LVT (WPC, SPC and flex LVT are all made of waterproof components).

The rigid core category is also being elevated with the use of digital print and embossing technologies, including state-of-the-art systems from Hymmen and Barberan. The new technologies largely print directly on the core, obviating the need for vinyl caps, so they work well with another important trend-PVC-free resilient tile. The PVC-free movement is stronger in the commercial market, but many of the big firms, including Shaw, CFL, MSI, The Dixie Group, Wellmade and Huali, have also come out with PVC-free residential lines.

Wrapped up in this “rigid” category is the rise of laminate flooring, which initially struggled to compete with LVT’s waterproof story. But a few years ago, the category began to respond. Most laminate producers started working on improving their cores, but the biggest move came from the market leader, Mohawk, which came out with click joints that sealed out water, allowing for waterproof installations. The last couple of years have seen the laminate category strengthen again.

So just as we saw a surge in suppliers entering the SPC market a few years ago, we’re seeing the same trend in the laminate category. New to the laminate game over the last year are The Dixie Group, Urban, XL Flooring, QEP’s Naturally Aged Flooring and Johnson Hardwood, among others.

On the carpet side, there was a lot of experimentation in PET, including in better-end goods and indoor/outdoor constructions, with new additions at Dixie, Anderson Tuftex, Stanton, Kaleen and Tarkett. And PET is continuing to grow in mainstreet commercial, including in hybrid carpet tile form with the Nuscape collection by Shaw’s Philadelphia Commercial. And Mohawk offered carpet with blended fibers-triexta and nylon 6-highlighting differential dye effects.

Another soft surface trend is artificial turf-Cali and MSI, for instance-perhaps driven by the higher-end outdoor living market. It’s a category that’s getting a closer look from homeowners due to water restrictions, particularly in Western states.

HARD SURFACE: DESIGN AND COLOR
While wood looks still account for the vast majority of resilient and laminate designs (and a sizeable chunk of porcelain designs), stone and traditional tile visuals are going through a resurgence. This year, there were plenty of rigid LVTs with marble and travertine visuals, from low-gloss options at Mannington to gleaming offerings from Republic and Novalis. (How will high gloss hold up in rigid core products? We’ll see soon enough!) Marble looks were popular, though veining is more subdued than in recent years. One of the more interesting tile designs in sheet goods came from Tarkett Home’s Marrakesh, a medium-scale geometric star motif in a heavily weathered visual, shown on the floor in a captivating midtone neutral. There were also plenty of chunky terrazzo looks.

And in both porcelain and LVT, encaustic looks were trending in every corner-from interpretations of traditional, formal motifs, like MSI’s black-and-white designs, to bold, creative expressions, best exemplified by Daltile’s Octagon, which looks like it was casually inked by hand. Porcelain, too, played with both matte and high-gloss finishes, with higher glosses most prominent on wall applications.

On the real wood front, MSI entered the business, and both Dixie Home and Cali added new collections.

In wood looks, there were a couple of strong color trends. One, an extension of a years-long trend, is toward pale, dry looks in expansive white oak planks, the key development being added warmth in those light hues. But the more interesting development was the movement toward gold and even orange hues-colors not seen since before the recession. This was evident in both hardwood and faux wood, and it was everywhere.

Another interesting development in real wood and wood looks, in some cases conveyed through reactive staining (like Mystical Woods in AHF’s Bruce brand), was an aesthetic shift in how wood’s characteristics are conveyed. Taking effects that have trended in recent years-be it wirebrushing, cerusing, using rustic character-grades or reclaimed looks, highlighting knots and mineral streaks-the general movement was toward elevating those effects by, essentially, minimizing them. Graining effects that would have been visible from 20’ away now only come into focus when they’re right in front of you, so the design experience shifts from large-scale collective drama to more intimate, personal points of view.

White oak is still where all the action is, which is great for faux looks in LVT, laminate and hybrid constructions, but it’s a struggle for hardwood producers, who face high white oak lumber prices due to the continuing demand and limited supply both in North America and overseas. This year saw more experimentation with taking the pink out of red oak for white oak looks (e.g. in AHF’s Bruce Dundee solid hardwood line). And we’re starting to see more maple in both faux and real wood.

SOFT SURFACE: DESIGN AND COLOR
One of the themes in carpet was clarity, in terms of the colors themselves, color contrasts, textures and patterning-more clarity, less muddiness. Earthy neutrals tended toward light and bright, here and there reaching for higher chroma, including some peachy hues. And beyond the neutrals, blues and greens were most important (the same trend was evident in porcelain tile). At the higher end, and also seen in porcelain, were black and white products, in traditional patterns as well as more contemporary looks.

There were plenty of elevated textures (a good example is the Canvas Comfort texture on Shaw’s Anso Colorwall) and a lot of patterning. Plaids were strong (Couristan, Kaleen, Forbo’s Flotex) as were striated products, particularly at the higher end, elevated by tweed banding or crisply structured laddering. Couristan, Stanton and Dixie had good examples of this.

Animal prints, which have been a staple at the high end of the market, are getting more visibility due to the expansion of decorative carpet through firms like The Dixie Group, and a lot of that carpet ends up formatted into rugs. Custom cut rugs are so popular that many of the medium to higher-end broadlooms at the show were designed in part for how they’ll work as area rugs.

RETAILERS' PERSPECTIVES
This year, we asked Penny Carnino and Donna Mudd to share what stood out on the show floor that they plan to implement in their stores: Grigsby’s Carpet, Tile and Hardwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Sam Kinnaird’s Flooring and Granite in Louisville, Kentucky, respectively. Both are National Floorcovering Alliance members.

Carnino was drawn to Fabrica’s new Wildlife and Habitat animal prints, patterns that she says generally sell well. The multicolor loop nylon products are part of the Technique collection, which offers crisp and vivid designs achieved through advanced tufting technology unveiled several years ago.
She envisions the Wildlife tiger pattern as an area rug or perhaps stair runner and the Habitat antelope pattern as a rug, runner or even in a fun master closet. While dynamic, both designs are offered in neutral colorways.

She also appreciated a chevron offering from Gulistan that she felt was a good value while aligning with the visuals and feel of high-end competing products.

Mudd, too, noted new animal prints from The Dixie Group-which she also appreciated for its new merchandising, a theme that carried over to Cali and Karastan. Calling Cali “the most innovative of the three in terms of utilizing space and height,” she said she prefers displays that are both compact and low, so they offer line of sight. Pointing to 1866 by Masland’s display for its new All Seasons indoor/outdoor line, she noted the simplified sales opportunities thanks to the included carpet backing options and believes Karastan’s BelleLuxe display could offer an easier way to position laminate, since it shares the line’s existing display with hardwood.

BelleLuxe stood out to her for its realistic visuals and on-trend colorways. The Karastan dealer was also on the hunt for attractive LVT options priced under $5.50 per square foot, and she found that with Cali and several of Dixie’s brands.

Mudd praised Cali for its tight range of products, all of which “fit in terms of price and lifestyles.” She thought the addition of rugs was smart, as was their casual and transitional vibe that spans personalities and age ranges.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
Shaw Industries showcased its residential brands, including Shaw Floors, Coretec and Anderson Tuftex, as well as Philadelphia Commercial, the firm’s mainstreet division. Under the Coretec brand, now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the firm came out with Coretec Original (WPC) with Soft Step, a proprietary backing made of PET recycled from drink bottles, replacing cork. The firm also added to its Coretec Pro SPC line with 12 new styles, including oak, maple and elm looks, most of which are embossed in-register and feature the firm’s integrated bevels.

Under Shaw Floors, the firm was focused on its updated Anso Colorwall, which was first introduced 27 years ago. According to Herb Upton, vice president of residential soft surface, there are over 18,000 Colorwall displays in the specialty retail market. In addition to doing a major color overhaul, with 300 new SKUs, including tweeds, tonals and some striated looks, the firm also switched its display sample from a cut pile to Canvas Comfort, a subtle but compelling texture (with a little shimmer) that in some ways looks like the carpet equivalent of distressed concrete, with textures achieved through irregular and sporadic lines of buried loop.

Under the Anderson Tuftex brand, the firm came out with a new technology it calls 3C (color, control and character), creating the equivalent of a space-dyed yarn in solution-dyed PET 6 for a subtly striated look. The technology was displayed in a huge panel in Magnifique, a lush, silky cut pile PET construction in a mossy, earthy green that dramatically illustrated how a carpet can be elevated without any patterning or construction simply by a fiber innovation. “It gives a different elevated look for both cut pile and patterned goods,” says Upton.

Philadelphia Commercial introduced its Nuscape collection of ReWorx products, following launches by Shaw Contract and Patcraft in the last year or so. Nuscape is made up of 12”x48” carpet tiles in two designs, Desert Dunes and Color Fields.

ReWorx is a hybrid soft surface product with a needlepunched face and a resilient base, made entirely of PET, including recycled content from drink bottles. Like EcoWorx, ReWorx products are taken back for free by Shaw for reuse. According to the firm, the 4mm products are mechanically bonded and will not delaminate, and because it’s not a tufted or woven product, there’s no edge ravel or zippering.

Mannington came to the show with a range of new hard and soft surface products. While Terry Marchetta, vice president of residential styling, has worked with hard surface flooring for her 25 years with the firm, she has a background in textile design, which she used to help her shift the Phenix broadloom offering toward lighter, brighter and cleaner visuals, along with more small-scale geometrics and balanced non-directional designs. Phenix’s carpets are made of solution-dyed PET and nylon 6, and the nylon is also cationic, offering a level of stain resistance and color fastness typically found only in commercial carpet.

New carpet designs include Bouclé, a plush textural diamond visual in a loop construction, and Reflection, a silky, non-directional tonal design in a cut and loop-using the firm’s SureSoft solution-dyed PET. Notable are the softened color palettes, ranging from near-whites to gentle earth tones to a subtle peach. New nylon styles include Impression, a deconstructed herringbone, and a nubby Berber look with metallic hints, called Cardigan.

On the resilient side, the firm extended its CraftedEdge bevel technology, which creates pressed bevels with a hand-chiseled look, to a broader selection of Adura products, including new designs like Coventry, a rustic maple visual with a handscraped texture, and Preservation, a hickory look with some contrasting spalting. In the Adura Apex line of 8”x72” WPC with in-register embossing, the firm came out with Rapolano, a dynamic stone look in a range of light earthy colors, and with a TumbledEdge feature, the tile equivalent of CraftedEdge.

Under its Maison hardwood line, Mannington introduced Chateau, a European white oak in a wide and long board with an ultra-low gloss. And it also came out with a new line at entry-level price points called Momentum, also in white oak, in a quiet, elevated visual. And it added two colors, Flaxen and Amber, to its Prospect Park hardwood line.

In laminates, Mannington added two patterns to its Restoration collection, a Japanese maple design called Harmony and a white oak look with vivid in-register embossing in a 20-plank repeat.

Also featured was the Simple Stairs stair tread program, which is now part of Adura Selling Solutions. The program, which is produced in the firm’s Salem, New Jersey facilities, features 60 plank visuals.

During the show, Mannington announced the retirement of Mark Clayton, who will leave the firm at the end of this month. Clayton joined Phenix in 2012, following stints at Shaw, Beaulieu America, J+J and Milliken, and when Mannington acquired Phenix and Pharr in early 2020, Clayton continued to lead the division. Phenix will now be led by Zack Zehner, president of Mannington Residential.

Mohawk’s ColorWall carpet display is a core focus for the brand in 2023. The updated selling systems, the first of which are now in the field, simplify the shopping process by narrowing the choice down to color and comfort level.

Denise Silbert, vice president of marketing for soft surface, expects lighter colors to do well. The 66 selections also feature accents, mostly tonals, so “they’re a bit more subtle and approachable for the home space,” she said.

She expects the ColorWall to facilitate more trade-ups to SmartStrand Silk, as the difference between it and regular SmartStrand can be physically felt on the large samples displayed alongside the color options.
In 2021, Mohawk began blending its SmartStrand triexta with nylon to create loop patterns, and this year it unveiled cut pile options across Karastan and Godfrey Hirst, with one under Mohawk Home.

“The fibers pick up dyes in different ways, so you can get completely different looks within the same construction,” Silbert said of the technology, dubbed Xtra.

In hard surface, the firm is expanding its WetProtect installation system and warranty across Mohawk, Pergo and Karastan. Now applied to wood, laminate and resilient, WetProtect covers all related products in Karastan and Pergo, as well as premium SolidTech options under Mohawk.

“Waterproof seems to be almost a mandatory feature, even on natural wood,” said Seth Arnold, vice president of marketing for residential hard surface, citing company consumer research.

However, style and design still lead purchase choices, so Mohawk is also applying its Signature embossing technology to laminate across its portfolio. Ten percent of RevWood products under Mohawk now feature the technology, 33% of the Pergo Elements line, and 100% of Karastan’s BelleLuxe laminate, a new category for the brand that’s being positioned as “waterproof wood,” which will share a display with the line’s existing “natural wood” options. BelleLuxe also features the company’s largest plank sizes, 81”, which Arnold believes are also the biggest in the industry.

Achieved by scanning and recreating 64 layers of the inspirational piece of wood, the plates, which are made in Europe, take about two years to develop. Arnold said the customer reaction, especially to the Signature BelleLuxe offerings, reinforced the color trends the design team took its cues from: away from grey and toward natural hues with clean visuals, perhaps with a light wirebrush.

This year, The Dixie Group came to Surfaces in one large booth in the center of the show floor to launch over 100 new products and showcase its Fabrica, Masland and Dixie Home (now refreshed to DH Floors) brands, as well as its TruCor LVT and decorative soft surface programs. About 80% of Dixie’s business continues to come from the soft surface side, but the hard surface business has enjoyed double-digit growth for the last couple of years.

Dixie’s core nylon carpet business was tied closely to Invista and Stainmaster, so last year, the firm was forced to scramble to find alternative yarn supplies as Invista abruptly exited that business. Now, with that behind them, much of Dixie’s styling has been completely updated with some beautiful visual effects. Two noteworthy new nylon styles are Imagine and Ink Wash. It’s been 20 years now since David Polley launched Dixie Home, and this year, that brand is adding nine new polyester styles under its affordable fashion promise.

Dixie is also adding a complete line of indoor/outdoor soft products under a new All Seasons brand with a separate display. These 15 new SKUs are part of the 45 products that Len Andolino is adding to Dixie’s upper-end decorative rug program, introduced last year under Décor by Fabrica and 1866 by Masland.

On the hard surface side, Dixie is adding a new “hybrid laminate” collection called TruCor Refined that has a melamine wearlayer and a non-MgO mineral fiber core that is PVC free and completely waterproof with no wood content. Last year, the firm introduced the Colonial hardwood collection to its DH Floors brand, and the firm is continuing to build traction with that offering. Watch the video from Surfaces for more details.

Traffic was strong at Cali’s Surfaces booth as the firm returned after the brand’s debut last year. Cali’s California-inspired casual lifestyle brand message, along with its continued expansion into new products, appear to be fueling rapid growth nationwide. Last year, Cali negotiated a program with CCA Global, giving the firm increased distribution within the nation’s largest buying group. Cali continues to build on its core LVT program by adding rugs, decking and landscaping turf to its assortment. Two new engineered wood collections are being launched in 2023 to build on the success of its Meritage collection. The Barrel collection provides an entry-level price point, and the Whiskey and Wine collection (with smoother, cleaner visuals) is the next step. Both collections are 1/2” thick with a 2mm veneer face. The 20 new SKUs in Cali’s wood offering are styled in beautiful but casual aesthetics. Watch the video from Surfaces for more details.

In organizing Dal-Tile’s booth according to the year’s trends, public relations manager Michelle Corley said it became clear just how much the pandemic influenced our mindsets. “People came out of the pandemic wanting to go big and bold or wanting to cocoon and rejuvenate,” she said. 

The company’s five guiding trends illustrate this in different ways, from nature-inspired color palettes, which were predominant, to statement pieces that lend a quirky or dramatic aesthetic. 

Especially interesting among the latter was Octagon from the Human series, part of Daltile’s Stare collection, which features various designs reminiscent of ink pen drawings. On the luxe side of that thematic coin was Foyer, a bold marble look based on Brazilian quartzite, American Olean’s benchmark release in honor of the brand’s 100th anniversary, which was celebrated with a private party during Surfaces.

While Octagon is likely to be a niche product, Corley said she expects to see marble-still a favorite visual-begin to transition toward more pronounced looks as people in general seek more expressive surroundings.

One of the ways this is playing out is through texture, which featured prominently in the company’s releases, from the etched, geometric edges of Stencil to the earthen look of Rekindle-also an illustration of Dal-Tile’s move to enhance products through technology like StepWise and Microban.
“They’re demanding more than a one-dimensional experience when it comes to interior design,” Corley said, noting that Pebble Oasis probably got the most attention from visitors. The natural stone mosaic comes in roughly two dozen different colorways and formats, offering unexpected design combinations.

Amid the familiar hexagons, arabesque and picket shapes of products displayed throughout the booth, Corley said Kit Kat-shaped tiles are an emerging trend. And ovals showed up several times, including in Daltile’s Perfit mosaic, which Corley believes could speed up installation by as much as 50% since it measures 18”, the height of a typical backsplash, eliminating the need for cuts.
John and CC Wu, sibling co-owners of

Novalis, were hands-on with their team at Surfaces this year, promoting both the firm’s retail-focused NovaFloor and commercial-focused Ava brands. This 39-year-old, family-owned, top-five global supplier of LVT continues to bring new and innovative products to the market. This year, Novalis is launching a quick and easy way to install both herringbone and chevron patterns in a simple process that is distinctive and affordable. And from a finish perspective, Novalis offers both a refined high gloss for its tile-look and stone-look products and an ultra-matte finish for its wood-look planks. Also new for 2023 is a pressed bevel for SPC that offers a realistic-looking seam and a center bevel that allows tile products to be installed in a straight stack pattern versus the normal brick pattern.

As we spotlighted in our February issue last month, Novalis now has three production facilities-two in Asia and one in Dalton, Georgia-to offer its customers diversity of construction and quick turnaround, as well as country of origin options. Watch the video from Surfaces for more details.

At Engineered Floors’ (EF) booth, people crowded around displays of its new High-Def releases. The result of new extrusion technology that allows a greater number of colors to be combined in a single fiber, two collections are being launched under EF’s value-oriented brand, DreamWeaver. Silver Lining features more subtle tonal variation, while Gold Standard offers multicolor looks with up to 24 different colors.

“This will end up being a platform that replaces all our older styles,” said residential brand manager Eric Ruppert, noting that the company has already added three colors following the products’ initial debut earlier this year. “When we did the soft launch, we knew we had something.” 

With more than 1.7 billion possible combinations available in EF’s solution-dye bank, the new releases center on what Ruppert described as color affinity, matching the blends to hues and undertones popular in household decor. Emily Morrow Finkell, who was brought on in late 2022 to head residential product design, will guide color selection moving forward, and the line will probably expand to include patterns, Ruppert said.

Despite its soft hand, the result of additional bulk achieved by a 6-1/2 twist, he said it’s the “best-performing soft surface product in our line.”

The company is now investing in new tufting technology to take Pentz, its mainstreet commercial brand, to the next level, Ruppert said. Launched six years ago, the brand is quickly growing, with 11 new styles introduced this year. 

As EF prepares to produce its own LVT domestically, it launched a single SPC line this year: Preference, one of the first products Finkell helped with. The collection is embossed and features a pressed bevel, which EF calls a “natural wood edge.”

With more builders using gluedown LVT, which is also growing in popularity in renovations of old houses with uneven floors, Ruppert said, EF is also introducing several gluedown versions of New Standard Plus, which originally launched in Q3.

MSI continues to evolve from its distribution-only roots by adding factories to produce its own LVT and quartz products here in the U.S. This make-and-source strategy appears to be a winning approach for this family-owned company, whose top line grew 25% last year to just under $3 billion in sales. To build on that momentum, the firm is entering the engineered hardwood category with two “better/best” collections with a multi-ply core in long and wide formats. Its “better” collection, called Ladson, comes in a 1/2” thick profile and the “best” collection, McCarren, is 5/8” thick by 86” long and 9-1/2” wide.

Part of MSI’s success can be attributed to launching products that are in line with the styling trends that consumers are seeking by studying market trends from the paint and cabinet producers, as well as tracking what’s selling in their other flooring categories. As an example, one of MSI’s new porcelain products is styled to match its best-selling Maraggio quartz product.

New last year, but continuing to grow, is MSI’s synthetic turf business, which was introduced in 2022 in its Hardscape division. MSI’s revenue from its LVT business last year was just under $1 billion.

AHF Products, which bought the wood business that split off from Armstrong Flooring four years ago, is now looking more and more like the Armstrong of old, having acquired several of Armstrong’s domestic operations last year. The firm, which came to the show with 32 new product launches, now sells a full range of hardwood-solid, engineered and composite engineered-along with flex and rigid LVT, sheet goods and VCT, as well as TimberTru laminate. And its brands include three prominent legacy wood brands-Bruce, Hartco and Robbins-along with the Armstrong Flooring brand, LM Flooring, Tmbr, Hearthwood, Raintree, Autograph, Homerwood and Capella, as well as two commercial brands, Parterre and AHF Contract.

At the show, under the Armstrong Flooring brand, the firm unveiled the new StrataMax Pro line of high-performance sheet vinyl, now made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 22 stone and wood looks, and it also added back SPC after a six-month hiatus with a collection called Lutea, a better/best line of wood looks.

In addition, the firm extended its Dogwood compressed-wood technology from Bruce and Hartco to its premium Robbins brand as ArmorWood. Wood densification is done in the firm’s Somerset, Kentucky facility, which is also where its HDF cores are made-plywood cores for Dogwood are made in Tennessee.

Under the Bruce brand, the firm added Mystical Woods, which uses reactive staining to make the grain pop. And five new high-demand colors were added to the solid hardwood Bruce Dundee line, including some red oaks that design manager Sara Babinski has succeeded in turning into white oak looks.

Tarkett Home debuted its new line of solution-dyed polyester, called Cloud 9, which residential division president Jason Surratt believes will be a differentiator.

“From a polyester, more affordable standpoint, some people have gone toward design, but nobody has really pushed toward that luxury feel,” he explained, adding, “We feel it’s the softest on the market.”

The collection comprises 12 designs, mostly tonal, ranging in weight from builder-grade 25-ounce to premium 75-ounce options. Surratt expects them to retail from $7.99 to the low $20s per square yard once they’re released in late Q1. 

With inflation, Surratt said he’s seeing some trading down, especially in spec houses, which has boded well for sheet vinyl.

Tarkett’s new First Class collection features 14 designs, “a lot of higher-end looks that you can’t get with LVT,” he said, including two standouts featured in the booth-Marrakesh, a weathered-looking, Old World star design reminiscent of encaustic tile, and Monaco Calacatta, a marble-look herringbone with metallic gold edge accents.

Under its ProGen LVT, the firm debuted five new stone visuals, including a striking black marble in high gloss.

While Surratt said sheet vinyl has not seen as much resurgence in residential remodel, the company has updated its related display to offer a curated selection centered on price point and performance. 

Creative Flooring Solutions (CFL) went heavy on innovations, debuting two geared at different aspects of the market: acoustics and aesthetics. 

Introducing AtroGuard Q, a laminate said to be up to six times quieter than standard laminate, CFL president Thomas Baert said acoustics are becoming an increasingly important purchase driver. In addition to its cork backing, AtroGuard Q includes a proprietary sound-deadening layer. The release builds on CFL’s existing NovoCore Q SPC and, indeed, produced a muted sound during the in-booth demonstration. 

Launching now to distributors, AtroGuard Q is also water resistant, thanks in part to its denser core, which Baert said expands less, despite being HDF.

In terms of visuals, Baert said low gloss is what shoppers want, but products on the market today still have a sheen, depending on the angle from which one views the surface. Currently offered on select FirmFit SPC products designated as “Matte,” the NaturTrend treatment will likely spread to all of the company’s lines once its U.S. facilities can be outfitted with the necessary equipment to produce the infusion, which provided a noticeable difference in the display set up in CFL’s booth.

Building off the success of its patented drop-lock mechanical locking system, I4F’s focus at Surfaces this year was centered around five new innovative licenses. These include Be-Lite panel dematerialization, enabling LVT producers to reduce material usage and create a honeycomb rigid backing that is both light and strong; the Hymmen digital printing technology that allows LVT producers to create the printed visual directly on the rigid substrate (in-line) during the manufacturing process; a new AquaProtect waterproof locking seal for laminate flooring; CeraGrout enhanced SPC panel grout system; and finally, a “click and screw” wall panel locking system that allows floorcovering to be installed as wall covering. While a few of these patented systems existed last year, the technology continues to evolve into a more refined intellectual property. Watch the video from Surfaces for more details.

At its biggest Surfaces booth ever, Stanton had plenty of striking new releases, including a new branded fiber and a new brand: Atelyester, a solution-dyed polyester under the Atelier brand, which has been exclusively nylon; and Stanton Rug Company, which offers a curated selection of premade, in-stock rugs with their own display.

In development for several years, Atelyester debuted with 13 styles, a mix of neutral cut pile solids and loop multicolor patterns, including a chevron, which senior marketing director Christine Zampaglione said is “a great pattern for us.” Though currently housed under the Camelot collection, Adam Feldberg, director of product and innovation, expects the fiber to expand to other collections. “The fact that it’s solution-dyed; it’s priced very well; it’s got a great sheen, soft yarn, nice hand-it checks all the boxes,” he said, adding that customer reaction was strong.

Zampaglione said the response to Stanton Rug Company was also strong, with many customers ordering multiple displays. “This is a workhorse display for a dealer who wants to be in the rug business,” she said of the 32” wide, 104-SKU stand. The new brand comprises best-sellers from the company’s existing six brands. All hand-serged in India, the selections offer multiple styles and product categories, such as indoor/outdoor and flatweave-the latter of which Feldberg said is trending among designers and affluent customers-and can be shipped within one business day.

Other customer favorites from the show included several of the new Rosecore brand releases made of L.I.O.N. (Luxury Indoor Outdoor Nylon), a silklike UV-stabilized 6,6 introduced last year that is bleach-cleanable and can technically be used indoors and out, and Bradenton, a Crescent brand release made of semi-worsted New Zealand wool handwoven together in a chunky basketweave pattern.

It’s been seven years since Kaleen rolled out its all-wool broadloom program from India and the firm has seen double-digit growth each year since then. Traffic at the Kaleen booth was strong as retailers came to learn more about this boutique brand’s new collections for 2023. Following the success of Purelife and Hook & Beam, Kaleen is rolling out a new Home and Porch indoor/outdoor carpet collection in ten styles this year, with more to come. The product is made of UV-treated PET with a soft hand that feels natural.

The firm is also touting its Luxe custom wall-to-wall hand-knotted collection for its upper-end customers. The 30 SKUs in the Luxe collection are produced in India to the customer’s specification within a 150-day lead time.

The big news at Välinge, the Swedish innovation firm, is that, going forward, its branded Hardened Wood business will go to market under the Bjelin brand. The firm’s composite engineered wood features a thin, compressed-wood layer adhered to a specially designed HDF core with a resin made of melamine and wood dust. The resin presses into the 0.6mm veneer above and the core below, fusing it all together. And the 5G Dry locking system enables the creation of a waterproof installation.

Välinge also showcased 5G Cross, an insert into the joint where four boards meet that prevents any shifting and sliding, ensuring a stable installation. And for its Hardened Wood, it has also come out with a more robust lacquer surface treatment, called Class 33.

Unilin promoted its digital print and embossing capabilities at the show and is working on bringing the level of realistic texture exemplified by Mohawk’s Signature laminate products to resilient. (Unilin is the intellectual property arm of Mohawk.) The firm had samples that allowed visitors to physically experience the alignment of texture and visuals, with deep grooves that felt like weathered wood and natural stone to illustrate the current 200-micron limit of the technology, marketed as Digicor.

Unilin and I4F recently bundled all the patents they hold for digital print, allowing customers to get a license through either company that grants access to all of the available technology, including patented offerings from Barberan, Hymmen, Zeetree, Classen and Kronospan. 

Unilin sales director Floris Koopmans said the firm is focusing more on American licensees and gained some at Surfaces for its Unicoat waterproof edge treatment-especially relevant for laminate, which has seen industry sales pick up in part due to its newfound water resistance-and Uniclic locking system. 

At the show, the Belgian firm debuted two new systems for attaching flooring to walls: Uniwall, a clip-based system, and Wallpad, essentially a staple-able overhang, both of which allow for temperature-related expansion and contraction, a feature missing from existing installation systems, Koopmans said.

A growing focus for Emser is offering complementary products that go beyond coordinating format options, allowing homeowners to achieve a professionally curated look that incorporates a range of products. “That’s one of the biggest things from homeowners: ‘What matches this?’” said director of brand strategy and communications Kathy Greene.

Debuted last year, the Mixt and Fixt collections have seen so much interest that the company is now stocking the lines, which were special-order before. The products feature a broad mix of visuals that can be coordinated across both collections through their colorways, something the average homeowner doesn’t always feel confident of, Greene explained.

With more remodelers opting for tile, she said, the company is also focused on offering more design-driven options, especially for walls, a category that is seeing continued growth. The new Pagoni collection offers several coordinating looks, including a stenciled Art Nouveau fan design that speaks to the muted colorways growing in popularity, and a raised piano tile that touches on the drive for physical texture.

Greene noted two new releases that speak to this latter trend. Emser’s designers worked with a manufacturer to create Genesis, a moiré pattern that looks different under different light, and the company previewed its patented new Radiant porcelain wall tile, one of the most unique offerings at the show. Designed to be installed with LED strip lighting, the new-age subway tile’s 3D ridges create troughs that glow when illuminated. Greene imagines Radiant also being used in showers-another growing segment, she said.

Karndean, a LVT player headquartered in the U.K. that serves both the residential and commercial markets, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Among its new LVT introductions was School Cedar, a design inspired by cedar boards salvaged from a private school in San Diego. The collection comes in Smoked and Natural as a 3mm gluedown flex product or a 4.5mm SPC. Also new is the Farmhouse collection of oak-look flex LVT, with designs derived from old Dutch painted floorboards, in Blond and Smoked.

In addition, the firm also came out with its interpretation of a classic monochromatic star and square pattern in Clifton from the Heritage collection, in a 2.5mm flex LVT construction. Also noteworthy were terrazzo designs on the floor of the booth, along with a muted River Marble.

The firm has also added to it popular Knight Tile program with new designs, including stone looks and Scandinavian pine visuals, and is offering all visuals in both gluedown flex and rigid LVT formats.

Long a leader in laminate, Inhaus-part of the Classen Group-introduced a new category it is calling “eco-resilient” with its debut of Uberwood. Featuring a melamine-based, thermal-fused top and a wood and melamine core, making it both durable and waterproof, it offers the best qualities of vinyl and laminate, said Inhaus CEO Derek Welbourn. Additionally, its patented Megalock angled-fold locking system promises ease of installation. The product is due for release later this year.

“We feel there’s a lot of exciting innovation left in laminate,” said Welbourn, noting Inhaus’ digital printing capabilities, which it has been exploring for a decade and will be enhanced by the recent addition of an in-house design department turning out proprietary new designs. In addition, Inhaus’ new high-pressure press offers greater realism with deeper textures of up to 300 microns, a 100% increase in depth, according to Welbourn.

Going green was the big story at Nox, a South Korean vinyl producer with facilities in Ohio, in the form of a progressive and ambitious green program, which the firm refers to as the “world’s first Bio-Circular Balanced PVC LVT.” The firm has partnered with LG Chem, which will supply the raw material for all of its LVT, starting with production at Nox’s Korea operations.

Production of the green PVC products, which are derived from renewable bio-based raw materials (like used vegetable oil), is starting this quarter, and by midyear, Nox anticipates converting all of its Korean facility, which makes the bulk of the firm’s LVT, to the green PVC stream. There will be a cost increase for OEM and private label partners, but the payoff is the greenest LVT in the market.

The firm, which is also a leader in design innovation, showcased how it can efficiently create and enhance designs using a technique of building on visuals through the use of additional cylinders.

HMTX’s Metroflor showcased Inception Reserve, the first collection fully developed by Natalia Smith, HMTX’s director of design who joined the firm in 2021. The collection is produced through a Cambodian manufacturing partnership and is made up of Wellness Oak and Family Oak. Wellness Oak is the more rustic of the two, in a 7”x48” format, and Family Oak, which has a cleaner, quieter visual, comes in 9”x60”. Both have in-register embossing and 20 mil wearlayers. Metroflor is stocking the entire line for distribution, and the firm reports that all seven major distributor partners have signed on.

Amid the myriad wood and stone visuals across the show floor, Forbo’s colorful products stood out-something national residential sales director Tim Donahue said is a selling point for the company.

This year, the Swiss linoleum producer formally debuted something else he said customers have been seeking: a waterproof version of Forbo’s Marmoleum click products. Introduced at last year’s Surfaces, Cinch Loc Seal did not go into production until August. It features Välinge’s 5G locking system, long a standard on Cinch Loc products, as well as a new wood composite core protected by a polymer to prevent swelling. (The surface has always been waterproof.) The product is available in 43 colors, including 17 introduced this year, and can be specified as 12”x36” or 12”x12”, a size that Donahue said is unique.

Swiss Krono, a laminate manufacturer headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, introduced to the U.S. market a new flooring technology that bridges the gap between rigid core products and laminate flooring. Corepel, developed over several years, features a high-performance core made up of over 50% wood fiber fused with a patented resin formulation that, when combined with extremely tight joints, creates a waterproof product, according to Fabian Kölliker, head of group marketing. In addition, he notes that the panels don’t absorb water or swell.

“Laminate is on a journey to become more waterproof, and the flooring industry is on a journey to be more sustainable-this is our answer to both,” said Swiss Krono’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Kyle Brown.

The new product, which is currently manufactured in Switzerland, also has notable green characteristics, from the wood content in its core to its recycled wood fiber backing to the fact that it is PVC-free. The backing is naturally antimicrobial.

And the surface is protected with Soft Shield technology in its printed melamine layer, so it has the scratch-resistance characteristic of laminate flooring. The product comes in widths ranging from 5.5mm to 7.5mm with the attached backing. The Smart Line collection comprises 26 products, including ten wood looks, some oversized stone looks and extra-large wood-look planks. Next month, the firm will unveil a thinner gluedown commercial version.

The firm also has digital printing technology, and to highlight the potential for customization, a large Corepel plank was displayed with a digitally printed landscape design in the style of children’s book illustrations.

Traditionally a supplier of LVT, XL Flooring previewed a laminate line as it looks to expand its market, though territory sales manager Tina Sanders said LVT will continue to represent the majority of the Canada-based distributor’s portfolio. To be released later this year, the laminate, developed in conjunction with a Vietnamese supplier, is water resistant and features a Välinge locking system, painted bevel and closed-cell cushion.

In addition to new colorways and trade-up/down options for its traditional lineup of LVT, the company also showcased new larger-format options, including a 36”x36”. Also available in 12”x24”, 18”x36” and 24”x24”, the custom-order products feature realistic stone visuals and can be specified as 3mm or 5mm with a 12 mil or 20 mil wearlayer and the customer’s choice of backing. All of XL’s LVT products contain a ceramic bead finish and undergo extensive heat testing to ensure they can be used with heated floors, Sanders said.

Johnson Hardwood came out with new hardwood and SPC products at the show, and also showcased on the booth floor its first laminate line, which was introduced last year with the Bella Vista and Olde Tavern series.

In hardwood, it added Oak Grove, an engineered European white oak inspired by the firm’s very successful Grand Chateau series but at lower price points. It also added to its SPC offering with Cellar House, a white oak look also inspired by Grand Chateau. It comes in 12 colors, including trending warm and pale hues, as well as some greys, which remain popular in renovations where existing interior décor elements need to be matched.

Wellmade, which produces rigid core products in both China and Cartersville, Georgia, does most of its business through OEM. The firm has recently added to its Chinese operations with a new facility for the production of flooring with MgO cores.

At the show, Wellmade showcased its Ultimate Solution SPC, which features a pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back, as well as a Press-Lock edge system for watertight installations. With wearlayers from 12 mil to 28 mil, the mid-priced 6mm product (with attached backing) is suitable for applications from DIY to specified commercial.

Noting a rash of failures in the general market as a result of “a race to the bottom” in SPC, Republic Floor CEO Rotem Eylor is debuting 8mm, 10mm and 12mm collections (Country Gem, Sierra and Castle Oak, respectively) as consumers seek more bulk.

“We found a way to reduce the weight by half by developing a new core that’s ultraligtht,” he added, noting that 12mm SPC is fairly rare in the market.

Eylor said he’s also seen movement toward 12mm laminate, which will be available through Republic in the next three months. Featuring a new HDF core, the laminate is water resistant up to 96 hours, and will be available in an extra-large format that mimics the firm’s popular 9”x6’ SPC size, another differentiator, he said.

Just before Surfaces, the California-based supplier opened a 100,000-square-foot distribution center in Miami, Florida to help service existing customers and expand its footprint, and Eylor said more are planned for this year and next. Last year, Republic opened distribution centers in Israel and Germany, with the latter also gaining an in-house design studio. Some of Republic’s exclusive European designs were on display at the show, offering select dealers the chance for stock unique in their market.

Amid its varied options, including leather and cork panels and planks unique to the show floor, Canadian manufacturer Torlys-which celebrated its 35th anniversary at Surfaces-debuted its most premium laminate to date, Grand View. Company president Peter Barretto said that, whereas most laminate sold is 4’ long, Grandview is 7’, which he expects to be a meaningful differentiator.

“The commodity guys are going to have a very tough day,” he said, referencing the economic slowdown. “I think in our premium area we will do okay.”

The product features a pressed bevel and the company’s patented blue cork backing, which offers enhanced acoustics, comfort and antimicrobial properties. 

Now in its 12th year here in the U.S., Schönox shifted its core marketing message for the show to “the switch is on” to communicate a big uptick in adoption of Schönox products within the craftsman contractor group which, once they’ve tried these German-made products, become the brand’s biggest advocates and spokespersons to other contractors, according to the firm. New for this year is Schönox FP, which stands for Fill and Prime-a one-step floor prep solution that eliminates an extra step on renovation projects where the subfloor is plank flooring with gaps or voids.

In usual fashion, demonstrations were conducted in the booth to show how easy the product is to use. Watch the video from Surfaces for more details.

Most of the space in Urbanfloor’s booth was devoted to its Timbertop hardwood line, a hefty engineered product that is 3/4” thick with a 6mm top veneer. The European white oak line, which is manufactured in Indonesia, comes in both standard plank and herringbone formats in ten colors.

Urban, a wood flooring specialist that also offers SPC, introduced The Blvd, its first laminate offering, in a 20-SKU water-resistant collection.

Couristan, a major decorative soft surface player, came to Surfaces with 74 new broadlooms, covering its higher-end Premier line of wools and soft nylons to its Creations line of more affordable synthetic carpets, made mostly of polypropylene and polyester.

At the high end were products like Abington, a handmade wool with angled lines and braided bands, and Kilkenny, a crisp, linear Velvet Wilton made of New Zealand wool, as well as Bancroft, a nylon in an intricate small-scale structure.

At the more affordable end were products like Delray Beach, New Bern and Oak Island, made of fine denier nylon with a soft, silky shimmer.

Also on display were lots of sophisticated plaids and some black-and-white products, including the Black & White II collection, a mix of traditional designs and modern deconstructed motifs.

Cork producer Amorim came to Surfaces to showcase the performance of its cork underlayments. At the booth was a demonstration of a cork underlayment alongside a synthetic pad with 40-pound weights on each to show how cork resists deformation and also rebounds to its original condition, making the case that despite its premium price, cork outperforms and outlasts typical pads on the market.

The firm is also focusing on acoustics with its NRT (noise reduction technology) products, including various underlayments, an inlay and a top layer. Amorim, which is headquartered in Portugal, produces its underlayments, along with sports flooring, at its facility in Wisconsin.

Exhibiting for the first time at Surfaces, OneFlor USA debuted a residential version of its patented micro suction cup-based adhesion technology, originally developed for commercial use and awarded Nightingale silver and innovation awards in 2022. Cling Comfort, the residential version of SetaGrip, will be released on 20 LVT SKUs in Q2. The products will feature a 12 mil wearlayer versus the 20 mil standard for commercial applications. 

Tim Davis, vice president of technical and product development, said the ease of installation has really won over customers of the fledgling company, which is backed by Nox. The product can be installed over existing non-porous flooring and does not have to be cut with power tools. Additionally, its cushioned back lends comfort underfoot.

Anchored by wood looks, there are also several stone and concrete options, some with a grout visual, and Davis said the 6”x36” tile format is somewhat unique in the market.

Boen, whose Switzerland-based Bauwerk Group acquired Somerset last May, had a presence in the National Wood Flooring Association’s Surfaces space, where it focused on products like Chaletino, a robust 3/4” engineered wood that’s 11-3/4” wide by 9’ long, available in either its Live Pure proprietary acrylic finish or Live Natural Oil. All of Boen’s products are engineered, produced both overseas and in the U.S.

Colton, California-based U.S. Rubber, which uses truck tires reclaimed in California as the raw material for its sports and fitness flooring, unveiled its FloGlo line of rubber tiles, made up of two groupings-one that glows in the dark and another that fluoresces under UV light. The tiles are made of recycled rubber with EPDM colored chips, and it’s those chips that have the fluorescent and phosphorescent qualities. U.S. Rubber, which was founded in 1996, does all of its manufacturing out of its Colton facility.

Recycled content makes up 75% to 95% of the material in U.S. Rubber’s products. This year, the firm anticipates that it will divert close to 18 million pounds of post-consumer tire rubber from landfills.

U.S. Rubber is notable for another reason. The firm works with the Bounce Back! hiring and retention program for formerly incarcerated people, and nearly two thirds of its factory workers are former convicts. U.S. Rubber also actively recruits military veterans.

Create Flooring, a resilient supplier based in Calhoun, Georgia, came to Surfaces with a new line of SPC stair treads designed to match its SPC flooring line, which is produced in Asia.

Create also sells wood and laminate products, including Enchanted, a 7” wide engineered wood collection that comes in two white oaks and a maple, with more to come, and a new waterproof laminate collection called Lofts, a robust 12mm product with a 2mm attached EVA pad. Lofts comes in a range of pale and midtone wood looks. And Create also came out with the Venetian collection of SPC in stone and tile looks, as well as a new commercial 5mm LVT called Contour, with a 22 mil wearlayer.

Create Flooring’s parent, Muchsee Wood, is a Chinese firm established in 2005. The firm has about ten million square feet of warehousing capacity in North Georgia. Its products go both direct and through distribution.

Honored with an International Design Excellence Award, a Red Dot Design Award and an iF (International Forum) Design Award upon the release of its rice husk-based SPC (RSPC) last year, M.J. International Group enhanced the waterproof product this year by applying Välinge’s Liteback technology and a new antiviral treatment that protects the top and wearlayer for the life of the product.

Jerry Kuo, vice president of operations for the Taiwan-based OEM supplier, noted that the two new technologies can be applied to other products.

Already roughly 20% lighter than regular SPC, the new backing makes RSPC nearly 30% lighter. While the product costs roughly 20% more than traditional SPC, the transportation savings offset the additional expense, he said.

Ringgold, Georgia-based Happy Feet unveiled a range of new products at the show, including Urban Design, a grouping of LVT products that includes 2mm and 2.5mm gluedown flex LVT, a 4.5mm looselay, and a 4.5mm click SPC. The line comes in six colors, ranging from pale neutrals to warm, light hues to trendy midtones.

The firm also came out with a higher-end WPC called Pinnacle. The 11.5mm product comes with a 28 mil wearlayer and in several coastal and traditional colorways.

In addition to several warehouses in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, Happy Feet also has warehousing in California, Texas, Colorado and New Jersey. Its products are largely made in China, Vietnam and South Korea. About 20% of its product goes through distribution, and the rest goes direct to retail and multifamily.

With the market getting flooded with waterproof options, it’s created somewhat of a challenge for hardwood, said Renee Tester, vice president of marketing for QEP, parent company of Harris, Naturally Aged Flooring (NAF) and Kraus flooring brands. The hardwood-focused company is introducing its first waterproof laminate collection, NorthShore, this April under NAF. Water resistant up to 80 hours, the 12mm thick, 8”x4’ planks feature weathered colorways and more evident graining that made a statement amid the sea of clean neutrals across the show floor.

This past summer, the company launched five flex LVT and six SPC collections under Kraus, which leans toward mainstreet commercial and houses the company’s only other laminate.

QEP’s oldest brand, Harris-which celebrated its 125th anniversary at the show-has more of a consumer focus. It debuted two engineered hardwood collections driven by the trend toward wider and longer planks. The premium ten-SKU Mountains collection features 7-1/2”x8’ planks with on-trend aesthetics, though some darker best-sellers are also included. While more value-driven, Watercrest’s ten SKUs mimic higher-end products with their sliced faces and 6-1/4” width. The collection also features Välinge’s 2G locking system. 

NAF gained the widest products in the company’s portfolio with the nine-SKU Pinnacle lineup of 9-1/2” wide, 4mm sawn face planks in lengths up to 7’, as well as its first red maple, now included in the Main Street collection.

Florim, an Italian producer that also has manufacturing in the U.S., had on display a couple of high-gloss porcelain panels in a dramatic Calacatta Gold style, with a heavy emphasis on the gold veining. The panels, which are made in Italy and target the commercial and high-end residential markets, come in high and zero gloss.

However, the big news at Florim is its B Corp certification. B Corp is a certification of social and environmental performance, and there are currently about 6,000 certified B Corporations around the world-with over 2,000 in the U.S.-including Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, The Body Shop, Warby Parker and Ben & Jerry’s. Florim is the first tile producer to make the list, according to the firm.

The U.S. division of the Italian-owned Landmark Ceramics is headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, where it also has a manufacturing facility. Landmark has plans for expansion this year, with hopes of doubling U.S. production, and is also increasing warehousing space.

Just a month before Surfaces, WE Cork announced Tina Wicander Crossland as the new president and owner of the company, which was started by her father in 1975 and has been in the Wicander family ever since. In recent years, Crossland has worked alongside her sister, Ann Wicander, who was president of the firm since 1998. Crossland is excited to be at the helm and is planning to expand WE Cork in North America.

Canadian hardwood manufacturer Mercier displayed its new Source collection at the show, featuring three shades of warm brown with a muted grain in either solid or engineered constructions in varying widths. Mercier also relaunched its Generations Intact 2500 commercial-grade finish with an improved matte surface geared more toward residential applications. Mercier recently announced that Sebastien Mercier and Jean-Philippe Dumas, sons of siblings Richard and Marielle Mercier, took ownership of the company from their parents.

RFMS, which is now owned by Cyncly, came to Surface this year with a big booth to support its retail client base and talk about “RFMS Next,” the next-generation version of its ERP system, designed specifically for floorcovering retailers and commercial dealers. To develop this updated version, RFMS has onboarded 20 new software developers to create a cloud-based version with an enhanced look and updated functionality.

According to Rod Bayless, head of sales and marketing, RFMS is the marketshare leader in its space, and the new enhanced version of its software will be rolled out later this year, starting with its subscriber client base. The firm has also integrated a credit card processing component to its list of digital solutions for its retail clients.

Cyncly is the new brand name for the recently merged Compusoft + 2020. The 35-year-old firm bought RFMS in July 2022 and has been investing heavily in upgrading the solutions RFMS brings to the floorcovering industry.

QFloors, the business management software system developer for flooring retailers, introduced QProPay at Surfaces. With QProPay, retail sales reps can send the customer a payment link via email or a flooring store can feature a “Pay Now” button on its website or landing page. Customers click the button or link and receive instructions for submitting their payment. This enables flooring retailers to receive payments electronically at their customers’ convenience from anywhere at any time, which not only makes the process easier for customers, but also saves dealers time and effort in terms of tracking customers and payments.

Germany’s Küberit displayed its range of aluminum and stainless steel profiles, including the KE-B expansion joint profile that won a NeoCon Silver award last summer. The firm is known for its bendable contouring profiles that can be curved across a space. While some profiles can be curved by hand, the firm also sells a small specialized tool it designed to bend the profiles onsite to project specifications-it’s mostly used for commercial projects.

Küberit is also offering custom anodizing of its metal profiles, and it had on display some samples to illustrate the capabilities. For custom color, the firm uses the RAL color matching system-a German standard-that is widely used for matching colors in paints, coatings and plastics.

A leader in visualization technology, Roomvo debuted in-store visualization kiosks, and director of dealer operations Brandon Shidlowski said the show resulted in a lot of pre-orders. The kiosks, available in several sizes and as a lease or purchase, are loaded with the libraries of retailer-selected manufacturers and are automatically updated in real time. Retailers can have Roomvo create QR codes for their inventory or featured products free of charge, which customers can then scan in-store and explore on the kiosk using a photo of their own room or preloaded room scenes, rotating product directions and trying out selections on both floors and walls. Should they not be ready to purchase, customers can email themselves favorite products and room scenes, and the retailer will receive a copy with the lead information, as well. 

Laticrete made a return to Surfaces after a three-year hiatus, focusing on the tile and stone part of the show with Stonetech, a full line of surface care and maintenance solutions for natural stone and tile. Stonetech features Microban, an antimicrobial technology. The line includes Stonetech Enhancer Pro Sealer and Stonetech BulletProof Sealer, as well as Revitalizer for everyday cleaning and reinforcing stain protection.

XGS, a provider of flooring logistics solutions, now offers end-to-end visibility of inventory through its customer portal. Customers can log in and click a link to see via GPS tracking exactly where a truck is at any given moment. XGS has also added more distribution centers, providing more warehousing space, and has completed the integration of the Pacific Coast Distributors acquisition.

The main message at Taylor Adhesives at Surfaces 2023 was not as much about its product lines as it was about its new campaign, which focuses on Taylor as not just as a supplier but instead as an integral and vital accessory and partner to customers. Taylor Adhesives, which began in 1977 as a carpet adhesive supplier, now creates adhesives and coatings for all flooring surface types across the board.

New for Versatrim at this year’s show was Versaflex flexible molding. This polyurethane composite flexible molding is available in seven profiles, all suitable for interior or exterior applications. The molding pieces are 94” long and are stainable and paintable.

Following a flurry of acquisitions, including RollMaster and Retail Lead Management in 2021, Broadlume has been working to integrate and enhance its suite of business management tools. Within the last year, the software company has added inventory management, accounting and credit card processing, among other things, said chief revenue officer Dan Pratt.

Having acquired Freetail and its online visualization technology in 2019, Broadlume also recently rolled out related enhancements with the debut of its in-store visualization kiosks. Available in two different sizes, the kiosks allow shoppers to play with different lighting conditions and flooring installation patterns. Pratt said QR code technology will be added this year, satisfying a growing number of requests from retailers.

Mapei showcased Ultrabond Eco 379, a roller-applied adhesive that works with a range of hard surface flooring products. The high-performance adhesive is designed for fast-track roller application with a good spread rate. It is moisture resistant and can handle heavy loads, and it also helps with telegraphing.

Also notable is Mapeguard UM 35, an uncoupling, crack-isolation and waterproofing membrane made of high-density polyethylene and a polypropylene fabric backing. And the firm has also expanded into a new area with its Tile Spacer line, designed for the installation of ceramic and stone tiles of various sizes, thicknesses and formats.

Bostik introduced several new floor systems at the show, including Roll-Cote, a pre-mixed, single-component moisture mitigation product that also serves as a primer, alkali blocker and vapor reduction system. It’s a problem-solver for a range of applications, including SPC over slab. And Ultra-Set SingleStep2 is a wood flooring adhesive with embedded crumb rubber that not only offers sound and moisture protection but also helps installers lay the product down evenly. It offers 70-decibel sound reduction, according to the firm.

Bostik also showcased SL-175, a self-leveling underlayment and wearlayer that installs from 1/8” to 2” and is walkable within a couple of hours; floorcovering can be installed over the product six to 16 hour later.

RESILIENT PANEL DISCUSSION
On the first day of the show, the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) hosted a panel discussion on the state of the resilient flooring category. The event was moderated by Bruce Zwicker, CEO of Zwicker Advisory but probably best known from his days as CEO of J.J. Haines. On the panel were Russ Rogg, president of Metroflor; Herb Upton, vice president of hard surface flooring for Shaw; and Bill Blackstock, president and CEO of RFCI.

Topics included an overview of resilient flooring across a range of constructions and market segments, category growth over the last decade (Rogg estimates a six- to seven-fold increase), advances in realism (digital printing), recent innovations (cores, edges, scratch resistance, PVC-free products), and a recap of existing certifications, from FloorScore to Assure to Affirm (previously NSF-332).

In terms of the outlook for this year, Rogg contends that the value propositions of products like rigid LVT make it more recession-proof than other categories. And Blackstock feels that the residential market will bounce back fairly quickly because of the existing housing shortage in the U.S.


Copyright 2023 Floor Focus 


Related Topics:Parterre Flooring Systems, Engineered Floors, LLC, HomerWood, Beaulieu International Group, Mannington Mills, Armstrong Flooring, Anderson Tuftex, Tuftex, Couristan, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Daltile, Metroflor Luxury Vinyl Tile, AHF Products, Florim USA, Haines, Laticrete, Karastan, Masland Carpets & Rugs, Bostik, HMTX, Kaleen Rugs & Broadloom, Broadlume, Mohawk Industries, LG Hausys, Tarkett, The International Surface Event (TISE), Shaw Floors, The Dixie Group, American Olean, Novalis Innovative Flooring, Lumber Liquidators