The International Surface Event 2016 - Dec 2015

By Calista Sprague

From January 20 through 22, the latest and best in flooring products will fill the Surfaces expo floor at The International Surface Event (TISE), along with exhibitors for StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and TileExpo. And for the first time, the TISE exhibitors will occupy one large space on the lower level at the newly renovated Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Another move already creating buzz is the return of several major companies to the show floor. It’s been almost a decade since Mohawk Industries has showcased its products inside the expo, and this year the conglomerate will occupy a substantial footprint on the Surfaces show floor, with adjacent booths for its Daltile and IVC operations. Mohawk announced plans to forego its annual aligned dealers meeting this year, opting to invest more heavily in its presence at Surfaces and moving its aligned convention to a biennial event.

Armstrong also returns to the Surfaces floor this year after several years in an off-expo showroom, along with Congoleum, QEP, Berry-Alloc, MaxWoods and others. However, a handful of companies, including Tarkett, have opted to display their products in the upper level showrooms. The expo floor will be open January 20 and 21 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and January 22 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Like last year, attendees can once again register for a multi-show pass to gain free access and transportation to all the Design and Construction Week shows running January 19 to 21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, including the NAHB International Builders’ Show, Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and International Window Coverings Expo. The Las Vegas Market will not run concurrently this year, however, opening instead the following week, January 24 to 28.

TISE is promoting its education program this year, which begins a day before the expo on January 19, encouraging attendees to “Ignite your knowledge, growth and profits.” More than 55 classroom sessions will be offered, covering a wide area of industry topics addressed by experts in the field for everything from thin tile installation to business succession planning. 

Participants can brush up on the latest technologies and best practices while earning continuing education credits from professional organizations, and additional certifications and interactive workshops will be offered by partnering groups as well.

Specific education tracks have been tailored to suit individual professions within the industry—Architect/Designer, Care/Maintenance/Restoration, Distributor, Fabricator, Installer/Contractor, and Retailer—and offerings can be viewed online, filtered by professional track. 

On Wednesday, January 20, at 2:00 p.m., popular Internet site Houzz will present “What Your Clients Want,” a session based on information gathered from “the largest-ever consumer study of home renovation.” It will also host Houzz University workshops with interactive, hands-on presentations and experts to help attendees create more professional profiles to attract clients and promote their brands. 

Thursday, January 21 has been dubbed “Designer Day,” with sessions and show-floor tours developed for designers from 8:00 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., sponsored by Floor Focus. Session topics will range from color and design trends to marketing and sales techniques. 

More than 88 hours of live demonstrations and hands-on training will also take place right on the show floor. The Installation Showcase returns this year, along with the Trends Hub and Cleaning and Restoration Pavilion. 

CFI will offer a two-day program on the show floor for carpet installation training and certification, and another for laminate and hardwood installation. In a session called Lunch with Google, a Google executive will give flooring retailers “simple, yet informative” tips for Internet marketing. And the International Concrete Repair Institute will host a demonstration and hands-on workshop for slab moisture testing.


Before Surfaces came on the scene, industry shows were regional events convening in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco. But by the mid 1980s, attendance was waning and talk of a national show began to float around the industry. 

The first Surfaces show was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 1989, hosted by the Western Floor Covering Association (which later became the World Floor Covering Association). Early on, Surfaces was still viewed as a regional show, since the Atlanta residential flooring show eclipsed it. Held in April, the first Surfaces opened with 91 exhibitors and 4,236 attendees, growing to 12,400 in just three years.

In 1993 the expo moved to the Sands Convention Center. Some of the big Dalton carpet mills began to participate, and Sufaces came into its own as a national residential flooring show, pushing attendance up almost 70% to 21,056. 

WFCA sold the show to Hanley Wood for more than $40 million in 2001, and the show kept growing, peaking in 2006 with 40,558 attendees and 1,070 exhibitors. When the housing crisis hit, attendance slacked, however, and in 2010 the show dropped to 600 exhibitors and fewer than 24,000 attendees. 

In 2011 Surfaces moved to Mandalay Bay, joining forces with the StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, and in 2014 the Tile Expo came on board. Last year’s joint show attracted 707 exhibitors, and that number is expected to inch higher this year. Informa Exhibitions bought TISE from Hanley Wood last year, and will once again hold the expo at Mandalay Bay.


In addition to acres of show floor overflowing with the latest flooring products, several special events will occur during TISE 2016. Mannington Mills will celebrate its 100th anniversary in a 9,000-square-foot booth right inside the main show entrance, replete with its new Centennial Collection and historical displays. 

For those interested in design events, “Designer Luxury Off-site Home Tour” on Friday, January 22 beginning at 9:30 a.m. will offer an up-close look at a Las Vegas home designed and presented by an exclusive designer, and at “Designer Day Lunch & Learn,” on Thursday, January 21 at 12:15 p.m., Houzz will offer new business techniques to assist designers in a presentation called “Closing Sales in the 21st Century.”

Surfaces attendees look forward to networking with other industry professionals at the show each year. Floor Focus will again host “Emerging Professionals” at RiRa Irish Pub in the Shops at Mandalay Bay on Wednesday, January 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., providing an opportunity for all industry professionals, age 40 and under, to network and build relationships with their cohorts. And Coverings Canada Magazine hosts “Canada Night” on Wednesday, January 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to give Canadian attendees a chance to network over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. 

Anyone attending Surfaces for the first time will benefit from the TISE orientation sessions held January 20 through 22. Participants will receive a guided tour of the expo floor along with tips to maximize their time at the show. 


For TISE attendees who would like to explore Las Vegas, but aren’t into casinos and flashy shows, here are a few attractions recommended by Las Vegas locals.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas attracts world-class performers sans the feathers and sequins. Shows this week include a Beatles review with Emmy nominated Lon Bronson and his 14-piece All-Star Band; a performance by Shen Yun called A Gift from Heaven with 100 performers, a unique orchestra, exquisite costumes and animated backdrops; or a concert of Broadway music by Tony winner Christine Ebersole called Big Noise from Winnetka. 

The Mob Museum is run by a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the history of organized crime and law enforcement. Interactive tours explore true stories from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. Visitors get an insider look at this fascinating underworld through hundreds of artifacts and multi-sensory exhibits. 

High Roller, one of the newest attractions in Las Vegas, offers a bird’s eye view of the city from atop a 550-foot tall Ferris wheel. Currently the largest observation wheel in the U.S. and second largest in the world, it spins 28 enclosed transparent pods holding 40 passengers each.

The Neon Museum offers an outdoor exhibit called the Neon Boneyard, where some of the most recognizable signs from the historic strip now rest, including Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust. A guided tour introduces visitors to the iconic neon art spanning from the 1930s through today.  

Copyright 2015 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:Armstrong Flooring, Coverings, Mohawk Industries, RD Weis, The International Surface Event (TISE), Mannington Mills, Tarkett, Daltile