At this year’s Surfaces show, held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 23 to 25, technical innovations and new design directions vied for space with the scores of products expressing the slow-moving trends of mass appeal. Energy was high at the show, and the booths were busy, while perhaps not as busy as last year’s show. There are no hard numbers for show traffic, since Surfaces no longer releases attendee data, though most of the veteran exhibitors indicated that numbers were down a bit. But energy was high, in part because the flooring industry is in the midst of a period of dynamism, with rigid LVT (SPC and WPC) surging through the market, carpet mills becoming hard surface providers, PET carpet still spreading its wings-creating ripple effects through the broadloom market-and manufacturers experimenting with material content. Flooring dealers had their hands full, sifting through the sea of opportunities. And that sea was about half a million square feet in total for The International Surface Event, which includes Surfaces, TileExpo and StonExpo/Marmomac, packed with over 800 exhibitors.TRENDS AND INNOVATIONS In the dynamic rigid LVT category, there are all sorts of developments. At the most basic level, it’s worth noting that there’s a blending of the SPC and WPC categories. Specifically, the LVT cap typical of WPC is being put on SPC, instead of printing directly onto the core, which has allowed SPC producers to create more texture, including lots of in-register embossing. There are also new mineral cores being developed using magnesium compounds instead of limestone-magnesium is hugely abundant, accounting for 2% of the composition of the planet’s crust. Shaw’s US Floors, Torlys and CFL’s FirmFit have all come out with mineral cores this year-Inhaus has had one since 2017. And several firms-like US Floors, Johnson, Samling Global and American OEM-came out with rigid core LVT topped with real hardwood veneers, some more substantial and some whisper-thin. Tile and stone looks in WPC and SPC are also becoming more common. There was movement this year in the broad, longer-term flooring trends, like the wide and long hard-surface formats, the shades of grey, the wood looks, the matte finishes and the rustic expressions-all of which have been in play for at least a decade. For instance, rustic in one form or another has been the name of the game for most of this new century. Greys have been warming almost since they took center stage from the hotter hues of the exotic hardwoods and the earthy tones of residential broadloom, though at a glacial pace, heading toward the middle ground of taupe or moderated by infusions of color-like blue-greys and hints of green or gold. This year, the shift was more noticeable; in addition to spectral colors infusing the greys, there were also plenty of grey-infused colors. At the show there was also a lot of talk about “greige,” a warm grey that’s a step away from taupe, as the latest reworking of neutral colorways. There was more color in general this year, most prominently in woven and patterned broadloom, porcelain tile and here and there in sheet goods and LVT. Blue is by far the strongest trending color, in clear blue accents, field colors in a range of blues, and as modifiers of the greys. The hard surface rustic trend is still nearly ubiquitous, but it’s in motion, shifting to accommodate a desire for raw, natural looks. In hardwood and wood-look products, pale and dry visuals are gaining, and surface textures are going smoother. However, there’s no sign of a return to the higher grades of hardwood, like Clear and Select. Consumers want the character grades, with the knots and wormholes and cracks, often enhanced with some band saw marks that in their own way echo the banding of wood grains. In a counter-trend, this year also brought a good deal of darker woods enhanced with surface textures. In terms of species, white oak continues to dominate, led by European style oaks with the higher grade clean visuals. Hickory is hot too, along with walnut, and we’re starting to see more pine-more often in wood looks than real wood. It’s worth noting that there were a lot of misses in hardwood looks this year. Many of the pale washes looked cloudy or dusty-it looked like manufacturers were trying to hit all the trend points, doing pale washes on their raw and natural visuals. Larger formats were still big this year, with oversized rectangles in porcelain and plenty of long and wide boards in wood visuals across all categories. But there was also more strip flooring this year-something which has been a design no-no for years-often as part of mixed-width offerings. Also a trend-mixed species packaged together. In carpet, the story at the higher end was all about design. Many of the prominent mills really stepped up with a range of patterns and textures that elevated the category, with firms from Phenix to Shaw’s Anderson-Tuftex coming out with expressive, well-designed products that one might expect to find in the commercial market or at the very high end of residential or from those mills with an area rug or woven culture, like Stanton, Kaleen, Momeni and Couristan. Anderson-Tuftex, for instance, had some excellent LCL products with sheared faces. With residential carpet retreating to bedrooms and dens, homeowners are willing to spend more on it and go bolder with design. At the lower end of the carpet market, there wasn’t much in the way of patterning, but instead there were fiber effects-like sparkles and metallics-to give the overall textures a bit of pop. Also surging is rugs fabricated from broadloom. It’s becoming a huge business for carpet mills, driven in part by the homeowner’s desire for custom sizes, which you can’t get from traditional handmade or machine-made area rugs. And there was residential carpet tile this year-including from Tarkett and Forbo, and from Shaw too, though not at Surfaces. In ceramic tile, there was also more color this year, and there were also more black tiles and more black and white motifs. And there were more expressions of nature, like florals, including in abstracted geometrical representations. Another important trend in tile is the movement beyond the floor. Wall tiles are a growing business-though it’s miniscule in the U.S. compared to Europe and most of the rest of the world-and there were plenty of wall and floor combos this year. Also, the gauged panels of thin tile are competing against expensive natural stone slabs with convincing visuals, and they’re also moving into abstract designs and painted looks. Porcelain producers like Daltile and Crossville are also making porcelain countertops. And a broader trend is the use of virtual and augmented reality as selling tools and to provide unique experiences for users. At the show, Congoleum’s Cleo had VR goggles that allowed users to select samples through visual cues and switch out flooring, and Engineered Floors offered virtual tours of its SAM facility.NOTEWORTHY For a second year, Anderson-Tuftex’s branded products were on display at Surfaces in a booth adjacent to US Floors’ Coretec, representing Shaw Industries’ core presence at the show. Many retailers opted to add the Anderson Tuftex displays to their showroom last year, so the new brand of upscale carpet and hardwood is ramping up with a few new styles to build momentum. Shaw launched this brand after doing extensive consumer research, and the firm is targeting homeowners that fall into the “passionate pursuer” and “achiever” categories. To help promote the brand, Shaw has created a 350-page picture catalog titled “The Art of Play.” The brand will focus on five collections for 2019, the two most striking of which are Wonderment and Unleashed. Wonderment features the Metallics hardwood collection, an 8” wide white oak plank with a wirebrushed texture and a metallic shimmer infused in the finish, featuring style names like Cobalt, White Gold, Pewter and Pearl. The matching carpet collections are Stargazer and Dreamscape (using Stainmaster Luxerell nylon 6,6 yarn) in a cut and loop pattern construction. With pets being such a focus in American homes today, Anderson-Tuftex is launching a collection called Unleashed, and the carpets are made using Stainmaster Pet Protect (solution-dyed nylon 6,6) yarns. A few of the more striking carpet styles are Speak and Chase (pattern loop) and Faux Paw (cut and loop pattern). The matching hardwood products are two new sawn face European white oak visuals, Kensington and Buckingham, in 8” wide engineered constructions with wirebrushing. Mohawk Industries’ proprietary ColorMax dyeing process debuted in seven SmartStrand styles. The unique process produces deep color saturation and clarity. ColorMax will also be added to Mohawk’s updated Ultra collection and EverStrand polyester carpet. Everstrand now includes 17 new introductions with ColorMax technology. Airo, launched two years ago as a game-changing 100% polyester carpet through a partnership with DSM Niaga, has added four new styles for a total of 16 SKUs. The new offerings come in a range of weights and price points. Rest Assured I comes in at 40 ounces; Peaceful Moments I is 45 ounces; Rest Assured II is 50 ounces, and Peaceful Moments II is 55 ounces. On the hard surface side, Mohawk has added three RevWood Plus laminate collections that are embossed-in-register (EIR) for a total of 14 styles. Following a great response from RevWood Plus, the company debuted its RevWood Select line, which expanded on the existing Rare Vintage and Boardwalk Collective lines while offering a new collection-Woodcreek Oak. All feature painted bevels, HydroSeal moisture protection and Mohawk’s All Pet Protection. Additionally, the firm launched its new TecWood engineered hardwood collection, which offers enhanced impact and dent resistance and dimensional stability. Produced in the Danville, Virginia plant, TecWood comes in hickory, oak and maple visuals under the names Cherokee Ridge, Highlands Ranch and Spring Valley. Launched two years ago, the SolidTech rigid LVT line has proven to be a popular product, and Mohawk has followed up with two new SolidTech collections in 2019. It also debuted its new SolidTech Marquee, available in May, which is enhanced to protect against stains, scratches and dents-and which Mohawk is manufacturing domestically. The SolidTech program brings to market a total of 42 new wood and tile looks. Mohawk’s VersaTech sheet vinyl launch includes 55 new SKUs that come in wood and stone looks. VersaTech boasts a good/better/best approach to its product lineup. The VersaTech original collection comes in a 2mm thickness, while VersaTech Plus is 2.5mm, and Ultra is 3mm. Mohawk’s Pergo brand has for years been reserved for Mohawk’s laminate offering sold at home centers, but with the introduction of its new Pergo Extreme rigid LVT line, it will now be available across the country in specialty retail stores by spring 2019. This product is exclusive to Mohawk Edge retailers. The new line targets active consumers who will benefit from high performance standards. Wood looks range from realistic visuals to more subtle looks and include painted bevels and EIR finishes. Stone tile looks come in 15 patterns and three oversized tile options. Quick-Step, the Mohawk brand for resilient and laminate products, has upgraded NatureTek laminate to NatureTek Select-now a waterproof product. It will continue to sell its original waterproof line, NatureTek Plus. The firm reports that Heathered Oak in its Reclaime´ laminate line is its most popular seller, and seven of its Reclaime´products will move to the Select program in addition to the 11 new Select SKUs. Mohawk now distributes both its Quick-Step and IVC brands side-by-side. IVC continues to handle only resilient products, while Quick-Step focuses on the broad spectrum of hard surface offerings. From an innovation standpoint, Mohawk’s Daltile revealed a major product improvement that allows for intricate design with minimal installation labor, presented at the show as part of the Museo collection. These products are single tiles that look like different colored pieces that were assembled on-site. This technology has only recently been made possible due to ink-jet printers that are registered against press indentations. Museo mixes concrete, terrazzo and wood visuals to create a unique blended look, available in 24”x24” large format tile. The collection also includes 12”x24” blocks in two different color mixes, along with mosaics. At the show, the firm introduced a total of seven new tile collections and added to existing collections. Designed for accent walls in both residential and commercial applications, Revalia’s mosaic tiles come in pewter, white, salmon, light browns and burgundy colors. Color Wheel is exactly as its name implies-the pops of color in this wall tile are accented with plenty of neutrals, including black. Confectionary also offers a black, highly patterned wall tile, providing a sophisticated backdrop for a commercial setting. Daltile added two new marble looks to Elemental Selection from its Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces program. Calacatta Aries and Gypsum Calacatta are white with various depths in grey veining. Obsidian, a rich black, and Chromium, a deep grey, were introduced to its new Metallic Selection. Both colors offer a metallic sheen across the large slabs. The resilient focus for Mohawk’s IVC US was on two products, its Arterra sheet vinyl and its Stellaire luxury vinyl. Arterra offers contemporary and floral tile-look patterns while Stellaire offers wood looks. Karastan debuted six new SmartStrand collections. Ideal Vision features ColorMax technology with neutral tones mixed with greens, blues, gold and burgundy. Bradenburg is made with SmartStrand Silk and constructed using one of Karastan’s Vintage Weave looms to create highly detailed patterns. The firm also showcased six new carpets in wool constructions. Kingston Hill’s tufted carpet uses large textured loops and heavy yarns to create a scalloped look. Barreta and Ellesmere are flatweaves constructed using Karastan’s Wilton looms to create trellis and geometric looks. Six new Kashmere nylon products were highlighted as well. True Admiration comes in 40 solids ranging from neutral to bold in a dense yet soft product. Natural Diversion offers both cool and warm neutrals in a modern linear pattern. Godfrey Hirst, acquired by Mohawk in the middle of last year, has a more global distribution footprint than its luxury soft surface counterpart, Karastan, so current purveyors of Godfrey Hirst products will now also have access to the Karastan line. At the show, Godfrey Hirst showcased its first SmartStrand introductions. The nine collections make use of either SmartStrand, SmartStrand Reserve or SmartStrand Ultra to create a mixture of contemporary and nature-inspired looks. Additionally, the firm added new styles using tufted wool. Marazzi introduced its concrete look Persuade floor and wall tiles. The collection is available in three neutrals and three rectangular sizes. It offers a smooth visual but with a grainy, tangible texture. American Estates, a long-standing product, was introduced in three new colors. The vintage handscraped wood look comes in two sizes and can be patterned in a traditional plank format or a herringbone formation. D Segni Color and D Segni Terrazzo both offer solids and patterns to mix and match in a retro 8”x8” size. American Olean’s new Presario collection uses natural marble in three colors for its accent wall tile, available in a 12”x24” tile and a new 3”x9” tile. Waterwood is an oak-look tile that is inspired by the bricola wood pillars found in the waterways of Venice, Italy. It is available in four colors in 8”x40” planks and coordinating 11/2” hexagon mosaic tiles. A travertine look with subtle grain visuals can be found in American Olean’s Sunset Falls collection. It comes in multiple rectangular sizes and a herringbone mosaic for floor and wall use. Shaw’s US Floors division, which includes the Coretec brand, had a large, dramatic space at Surfaces, where it introduced a range of innovations in design and construction. The firm’s new 8mm Coretec Stone line introduces 40 visuals to the rigid LVT category, including polished and matte Carrara marble looks in rectangular formats, along with matte finishes in concrete, travertine and terrazzo visuals, and even some wood visuals-and featuring narrow grout lines. The line also features a cork back and a new mineral core that the firm says is more stable and dent resistant than SPC cores. It’s a proprietary formula that uses fiber resins instead of polymer to bind the mineral content. And later this year the firm will come out with wall products with the same core construction. That same mineral core is also used in the new Coretec Natural Wood line, that replaces the typical vinyl cap with a 2mm sliced hardwood veneer, and it’s waterproof. The 7”x72” boards are 12mm thick. And the 16 SKU line features eight hickories and eight white oaks. Also new is Coretec Pro, a line of SPC products that should do well in mainstreet applications as well as in homes with high traffic impacts-which means most homes with children and pets. The 40-SKU line includes a higher end with visual and textural enhancements. In the Coretec Original line, the firm unveiled design enhancements, including WPC planks manufactured for herringbone installations-the click systems are set up differently-along with updated visuals and some narrower boards. The refreshed collection is made up of 40 SKUs. Over the last two or three years, Mannington Mills has helped reinvigorate the sheet vinyl category with elevated design, including a range of intricate encaustic tile designs. The most notable new introductions at the show were Anchorage, with a visual of timeworn planks in variable lengths and widths, with dynamic but cohesive color jumps; Carrara, a marble look in a hexagonal structure; and, most notably, Morocco, a design of encaustic tiles in 6” formats set off with earthy weathered grout lines. In laminates, the firm enhanced its Restoration collection with a SpillShield waterproof warranty, which guarantees that the product will withstand household spills for up to 72 hours. It also added three new designs to the collection, including Station Pine, with rustic hardwood visuals including knots and cracks, and with a stunning dry matte finish. All of the firm’s new laminates feature in-register embossing. Mannington also came out with three new hardwood designs. Made in America, Prospect Park is a wirebrushed white oak plank in four colors with a matte finish that makes it look oiled. Another hardwood plank, Triumph, mixes white oak, hickory and maple for unique mixed-species applications, tied together with texture and stain. But the most trendy new hardwood was probably Bengal Bay, which mixes 2”, 3” and 5” widths for a dynamic look on the floor, enhanced by distinct but reined-in color shifts between the boards. Bengal Bay, which is also available as 5” only, is made of a hard Indian wood species called Bengali. The firm added to its WPC program with Adura Max Apex in five designs, including a sophisticated rustic hickory plank look called River Mill and a memorable design called Hampton that blends flat sawn oak visuals, enhanced by chatter marks, with a moody stone visual. Mannington also introduced the Adura Selling Solution in a single display that offers 80 designs, all available in flexible LVT, WPC and SPC. The Dixie Group came to Las Vegas with its three residential brands-Dixie Home, Masland and Fabrica-offering another aggressive launch of new products: 50 new carpet styles, 60 new rigid core LVT products and eight new Fabrica hardwood products. With carpet, Dixie continues to be the biggest supporter of Stainmaster branded nylon 6,6, and last year this strategy brought the company growth in a down market. A big focus for the firm this year is the launch of TruCor SPC under the Dixie Home brand, in 27 wood visuals and ten tile visuals. To round out its LVT offering, the company continues to focus on WPC construction with PetProtect branded products in the Masland and Dixie Home brands. Last year, the Dixie Group, launched its Masland Energy collection targeting the mainstreet commercial sector, and this year the firm is adding 12 new LVT SKUs that are designed to hold up under the more demanding commercial environment. Two of the more distinctive new carpet products introduced within Masland’s nylon offering this year are Marquis and Victoria Island. The Masland brand is also adding eight new wool styles. In the upscale Fabrica brand, two new stand-out carpet introductions are Sierra Leone and Couture. As mentioned earlier, Fabrica is adding to the 40 hardwood flooring products that it launched last year with eight new French oak products that are 91/2” wide. And it has also decided to drop the feature wall hardwood products that it introduced last year and focus on hardwood flooring for now. For those dealers that see the value in nylon 6,6 carpet construction but are trying to hit a lower price point, Dixie Home is now offering ten products under the Envision 66 name with simple styling using an unbranded nylon 6,6. Crossville, which won’t be attending Surfaces going forward in order to focus on key markets, ended its longstanding presence at the show with an inventive new collection, Reformation, and the launch of its countertop operation. Reformation is a collection of weathered concrete visuals in rectangle and plank formats, along with block and square mosaics. It comes in three distinct greys, including a dark and gritty industrial hue, as well as a paler earth tone. Crossville is launching its 12mm countertop business with 16 SKUs, including stone and marble visuals, ranging from a bright white all the way to a couple of striated blacks. The countertops are produced in Italy to Crossville’s specifications by its thin panel partner, Laminam. Crossville’s booth was particularly stunning, with the space framed by wall panels decorated with porcelain waterjet cuts of M.C. Escher-inspired interlocking motifs (birds, lizards, etc.), creating one of the most memorable design elements at this year’s show. CFL (Creative Flooring Solutions) announced the launch of Tenacity, a new waterproof engineered stone. Tenacity is a multi-layered flooring product with a mineral core and laminate top. The product is PVC- and plasticizer-free with a pre-attached, high-performance underlayment made from recycled PET bottles. Tenacity is scratch resistant and waterproof. CFL will go to market with Tenacity exclusively through dealers. To hear more about this product, listen to the interview with Thomas Baert, president of FirmFit, from this year’s Domotex show in Hanover, Germany on FloorDaily.net. Novalis, a specialist in LVT, showcased its new Novafloor display system for rigid LVT and also introduced several new products, including SPC. Its Maybree line of 6mm SPC with hardwood visuals in two plank widths includes a 20 mil wearlayer. And unlike lower-end SPC products, Maybree has an LVT cap, enabling in-register embossing. The firm has also updated its Lyndon flexible LVT program, adding a 3.2mm SPC with a click system to the entry-level collection’s hardwood looks. However, its 12”x24” stone-look tiles will only be offered in gluedown flexible LVT. Novalis has a large manufacturing facility in China, and its U.S. headquarters is in Dalton, Georgia. On the commercial side, Novalis goes to market with the Ava brand. Armstrong’s big news at Surfaces was its new singular focus in the resilient flooring category, having just sold its hardwood flooring business to American Industrial Partners. With this sale, Armstrong’s mix has shifted to be 60% commercial and 40% residential, and it decided to use Surfaces as a launching platform for its new resilient focus. Yes, every product is resilient, but in several brands across a range of formats: sheet vinyl, flexible and rigid LVT, VCT and engineered tile. The big resilient focus as Surfaces this year was Armstrong’s VCT products that now feature its Diamond 10 hardened finish-reducing the cost of ownership over time by as much as 40%. Also featured at this year’s show was Armstrong’s Pryzm rigid LVT platform, featuring up to 20 wood looks. And for those looking for a tile or stone look, Armstrong offers Alterna engineered tile in 15 different styles. According to Don Maier, CEO at Armstrong, the firm’s goal is to “skate to where the puck is headed”-acknowledging that LVT is the fastest growing category in the U.S. flooring market-and shift to domestically produced products as quickly as possible. As it continues to experience double-digit growth, MSI recently tweaked its name and now goes by MSI Surfaces to reflect its focus beyond tile and stone and into LVT, along with additional surfaces like outdoor applications, walls and countertops. MSI entered the LVT business only seven months ago with its new Everlife brand of both gluedown flexible LVT and rigid core click products. All of the over 30 products emulate wood visuals. Also new this year is a wide range of tile and stone flooring, backsplashes, countertops and hardscape products. Most noteworthy in the outdoor area was the Arterra branded landscape tiles, and for kitchen backsplashes, the black Urbano Subway tiles. New at the show was AHF Products, which acquired Armstrong’s hardwood flooring assets at the end of 2018. The newcomer came to Surfaces as an independent company with a number of Armstrong’s former brands, like Bruce, HomerWood and Capella. AHF offered a sneak peek of its Bruce launch, slated for April, which includes completely revamping the website and bringing back Martha King, a World Champion [wood] Chopper who was featured as a marketing spokesperson in TV commercials last year. She is coming back to help with the introduction of Bruce’s new water resistant 100% real wood Hydrapel flooring. The new line offers water resistance up to 36 hours and can be installed over any type of subfloor. It targets the pro-contractor segment but is also a DIY-friendly product, and no underlayment is required. It is installed via a locking system. HomerWood, the firm’s premium solid wood line, is made in Pennsylvania by Amish craftsmen. It has a matching engineered line with a sawn veneer that is 5/8” thick and comes in widths up to 12” wide compared to 8” in its solid counterpart. Simplicity, a new line launched at the end of 2018, is 1/2” thick with a 3mm veneer and is offered in a 6” width. The smooth, sawn-face line comes in ten colors: four in hickory and six in white oak. Tarkett came to the show with a range of new vinyl products along with its first residential carpet, through its acquisition of Lexmark last year. The firm introduced three broadloom collections made of solution-dyed PET, all patterned, along with three carpet tiles for either mainstreet or residential applications. The firm introduced a new LVT collection, Mill & Quarry, featuring wood and stone looks-a rustic pine and a pale travertine-protected by the firm’s new wearlayer, Techtonic, that offers unmatched scratch, scuff and stain resistance, according to the firm, which also contends that the wearlayer virtually eliminates white marks often left when wearlayers are scratched. Tarkett intends to put the Techtonic finish on commercial products as well. Tarkett also added to its ProGen Rigid Core program with seven new designs, all wood looks featuring in-register embossing and painted bevels. Among the more memorable is West Oak, a sawn oak visual elevated by a range of character markings, like knots and splits. In addition, Tarkett added 20 designs to the TruTex sheet vinyl program launched last year. The new products include wood, stone and traditional tile looks, including a mini hex mosaic pattern, a dynamic natural stone look crisply arrayed in a pattern of multi-sized squares and rectangles, a flagstone design and a wide range of woods. Karndean, which makes gluedown, looselay and rigid core LVT products, came to the show with 45 new SKUs: 15 SKUs in its Korlok Select rigid core line; nine SKUs in Art Select Woods, a line of flexible gluedown LVT; 14 products from the Van Gogh gluedown line introduced in rigid core constructions; and six additions to its 59” long LooseLay Longboard program. Installed on the showroom floor in a pattern of chevrons banded by linear planks was Glacier Oak, a new Art Select Woods design that comes in large planks as well as a 3”x18” parquet format. Another bold design was Weathered American Pine from the Looselay Longboard program. It’s a distressed pine visual deliberately marred in sporadic darkened swaths that look like stain damage. Phenix Flooring came to the show with 40 new broadlooms, adding to its Stainmaster PetProtect and Sure Soft PET programs and introducing the Modern Contours collection of patterned and textured soft polyesters, designed by Jason Surratt, who joined the firm as VP of product and design seven months ago. The firm also offers a range of rigid and flexible LVTs, including its Design Mix LVT line, which is manufactured in the U.S. Modern Contours takes PET to a new level in a range of sophisticated designs, 14 in all, grouped in the beige and brown earth tones of Bryant Park, the cool greys of Champs Elysees and the warm greys of Savile Row. The collection elevates the firm’s SureSoft solution-dyed PET, including with space-dyed effects in multi-metallic sheens in the Champs Elysees products and softer, more casual finishes in Bryant Park. Among the most noteworthy designs are Sartorial, Pleating, Chic Stria and Bespoke. All of Phenix’s new PET products, including all of Modern Contours, feature Microban antimicrobial protection, which inhibits the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. The firm also introduced ten additional SureSoft carpets and eight Stainmaster PetProtect carpets. Gleam and Glisten from that collection also feature metallic multicolored yarns. Nox, a large-scale South Korean producer of LVT flooring that in 2015 built a production facility in Fostoria, Ohio, is now building a rigid LVT facility just down the road. At Surfaces, in addition to its ongoing focus on Nox Genesis rigid LVT flooring, the firm also showcased Loom+ and Ever Eco+. Loom+ has a woven PVC fabric on top and an LVT backing and comes in two styles: Herringbone and Ombre. Ever Eco+ is a PVC-free resilient flooring with a polyolefin core and wearlayer. Both of these products have commercially rated wear performance. American OEM came to Surfaces this year with a bit of a surprise-the launch of Raintree, an imported multi-layered rigid core product topped with a real hardwood veneer. It’s a bit of a departure for American OEM, since the product is not all wood and is not made in America, but it is waterproof, and it meets the National Wood Flooring Association’s definition of being a real wood product. The veneers used in Raintree are 1.2 mm sliced European white oak and hickory, and the core is a rigid polymer that clicks together; it also features an attached pad. With this initial launch, there are 14 styles in three collections-all of which are 71/2” wide. Pricing for this product fits in the mid-range of the firm’s Hearthwood products. People who know Don Finkell and American OEM know that he built his American hardwood flooring factory inside a level 2 prison near Burns, Tennessee. Finkell learned the social benefit of giving prisoners a life purpose when he was running Anderson Hardwood in South Carolina. For the first three years, American OEM sold mostly private label products, but last year the firm launched its Hearthwood branded products. It also produces all the hardwood products sold under the Emily Morrow Home brand. In the past year, American OEM added Harry Bogner to run manufacturing and Carr Newton as head of sales-freeing Finkell up to focus in other areas. Southwind, which used to go to market as Cherokee Carpets, has had two solid growth years with its new owners. The firm continues to add new products in both hard and soft surface. Last year, it invested in new tufting equipment and this year introduced several new LCL products utilizing the new equipment. New soft surface introductions at this year’s show included four LCL collections and three new ColorPoint products. On the hard surface side, they introduced two new WPC products, one SPC product and one loose lay vinyl plank product. Engineered Floors was at the show with its Dream Weaver and Pentz mainstreet commercial brands. Its new Purebac Destination Colorwall now showcases PureColor soft polyesters, and the firm will retrofit free of charge retailers’ existing nylon Colorwalls. The display features neutral and near neutral colorways using multicolored yarns in 36 Easy Living carpets and another 18 in Casual Comforts. Easy Living is the tighter construction, which has been trending. And all of those products feature Purebac latex-free backing technology. On the floor was a compelling Pentz product called Bespoke, a modular carpet plank with an attention-grabbing crisp linear pattern, using Apex solution-dyed polyester. Pentz also makes carpet from solution-dyed nylon and polypropylene. Another noteworthy product was Sidewinder, a square carpet tile banded with irregular laddering. On the hard surface side, the firm showcased its flexible and rigid LVT in gluedown, looselay and click applications. The firm took its top-selling WPC products introduced last year and converted them to SPC this year. Most of the products feature in-register embossing and painted bevels. The new line includes some multi-width wood looks and a tile look with a debossed grout, and it can even be installed over existing tile floors. New Jersey-based Congoleum, with roots dating back to the 19th century, is in the midst of a reinvention. Last year at Surfaces, it unveiled its new Cleo brand of PVC-free resilient flooring, and at NeoCon it introduced Cleo Commercial. But the firm is only just now starting to sell Cleo Home products, having rolled out hundreds of retail displays across the country, with hundreds more going out every month. Cleo products feature an ethylene-vinyl acetate and limestone base, with designs inked directly on the surface. Cleo currently offers 56 SKUs-over half are wood looks, and the rest range from stone visuals to intricate non-representational patterned looks. The firm is also adding to its legacy products, including AirStep sheet goods and DuraCeramic tiles. On the floor was a new AirStep wood look, with a trendy dry finish and chemically embossed joints. And it has added eight new SKUs to its Triversa WPC line. Provenza Floors launched several new collections for 2019, including its New York Loft engineered white oak line, characterized by light wirebrushing, multi-staining and wide color variation. The 18-SKU line includes half character grade woods and half boast a clean look. Lengths are available up to 6’2”. Palais Royale is an engineered European oak collection made up of ten SKUs with most in the “greige” family of colors. The boards wider-just under 9”-and come in lengths up to 7’. Under its Maxcore waterproof LVP line, the firm showcased Concorde Oak with realistic wood texturing and a micro bevel effect. The 71/4” wide planks come in 72” lengths with a 20 mil wearlayer. The product is constructed with a waterproof rigid core with an attached underlayment pad. Momeni showcased many memorable woven broadlooms at this year’s show, including several hefty polyester products, like Felicity, an 80-ounce carpet with a bulky tight weave pattern enhanced with uniform dotted stripes in contrasting neutrals, and Canterbury, a big hit at the show, which is a woven wool that comes in 15’ widths, with a subtle cut and loop for a soft, lush look. The firm, which has its roots in area rugs, has been offering broadloom for the last decade. At the show, the firm reintroduced one of its best sellers, Heatherly, now offered in 13’2” and 16’4” widths. The wool carpet, a tailored tweed design, comes in four colors. I4F, formerly named Innovations 4 Flooring, announced the change in its name a year ago. The new brand identity more broadly encompasses its patents and technologies not only for the flooring industry but also for its wall mounting systems, material compositions and surface treatments. At Surfaces, the company released news of a new patented technology that will enable manufacturers to save on materials during the production of rigid polymer boards. The technology also enhances productivity by optimizing the extrusion process during the production of rigid polymer boards. For more information on I4F and its patents and technologies, listen to the interview from this January’s Domotex Germany show on Floordaily.net. Radici USA, a division of Italy’s Radici Group, had on display a range of broadloom and area rugs, including Diamante and Perla, wool/nylon blends in eight colors each, and In Vidia, a new soft nylon cut pile in green, blue, charcoal and antique white colors, also soft and muted. Also on display were hand-woven rugs from India-four 100% wool collections. And the firm added blue and green colorways to its existing Bellissima carpet, a thick woven style made of wool and viscose. Radici supplies the U.S. market through its warehouse operation in South Carolina. Business continues to bring growth to Happy Feet International, a Ringgold, Georgia-based firm that specializes in importing LVT flooring. New for the firm this year is an expanded focus on its StoneTec SPC rigid core technology with additional SKUs and more colors in both the Built-Rite and Showtime floating click collections. Also new this year are two gluedown collections sourced out of South Korea, Marathon 3 and Decathlon. Mullican introduced its Wexford Kiln-Aged engineered hardwood collection. A heat-treating technique, called carbonization, is used to bring out the natural character of the wood and to achieve unique color variations. The upper-end product is available in white oak and comes in five colors. At the end of 2018, Mullican announced its partnership with a new distributor, Building Plastics, Inc., covering Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Additionally, it just launched its independent brand, Axiscor Performance Flooring. The value engineered product is an SPC that utilizes an IXPE pad and I4F locking technology for use in residential and multifamily applications. The company revealed its new logo last spring at the NWFA Expo and revamped its website in Q3 2018, all part of a much bigger plan to hone in on its brand story. Kaleen, now in its fifth year of selling affordable wool broadloom from India, introduced 16 new styles in both random sheer and flatweave broadloom constructions. Saba Rock and Trellis Bay are hefty woven broadlooms made of felted wool and viscose in chevron and linear patterns. Peter Island is a flatweave that comes in a variety of colors-taupe, navy blue, purple, light green and yellow-with a chevron pattern that alternates the color with off-white. Another woven product, Little Sorrel, was inspired by the lining in a hunting jacket with its linear weave accented with bands of black or burgundy lines. Old Sorrel offers a similar linear pattern but in a natural color. Forbo focused a lot of its exhibit on its unique Flotex line of flocked nylon 6,6 flooring with a PVC back. Most of the line is 10”x40” planks, including Flotex Timber, a wood look in six colors. The product’s performance and maintenance characteristics are helping it make gains in the residential market. And the 5mm thickness helps it work well with hard surface and carpet tile. The firm also came out with a residential PET carpet tile line called Cinchstall that comes with a releasable adhesive, in four 55-ounce SKUs and four 25-ounce SKUs. After years of successfully working with North American distributors on private label programs, Samling Global introduced Lifecore Flooring, its own brand of hardwood, at last year’s Surfaces show. This year, aligned with the NWFA’s initiative to distinguish real wood from wood-look flooring, the firm added to its portfolio with the H2ome waterproof hardwood line. H2ome has a 1.5 mm real hardwood veneer with a waterproof rigid core. The collection is available in a variety of species with a floating click installation. Gulistan was back at Surfaces for a second year, showcasing soft yarns of solution-dyed polyester at this year’s show. One new soft collection is Kessler Heights, available in both a 70-ounce and 90-ounce version with a 5 dpf (denier per filament) fiber. Gulistan also introduced Tsunami, its version of waterproof WPC flooring. Tsunami is available in three plank sizes; Tsunami, Tsunami Plus and Tsunami XL. This was Gulistan’s second year at Surfaces since its acquisition by Lonesome Oak Trading Company, a private equity firm. Emser Tile displayed a total of 40 collections that will all have launched by the end of March. Among them is Rhapsody, a white and black tile collection with a distressed finish. The floor and wall tiles come in two patterns, a diagonal and a floral pattern, and are designed for indoor and outdoor use. And Myth wall tile comes in Arabesque, Petal and Wave patterns with white, light grey and pewter colors. It is designed for kitchens, baths and accent walls. Divine offers a more contemporary look and is inspired by Greek mythology with names like Athens, Zeus and Hera. The colors range from white and pale blue to aqua and light green and are outlined with white or black. The clean looks are designed for kitchen backsplashes, shower walls and large-scale accent walls in commercial spaces. Hollywood is Emser’s wood-look tile. The large format planks can be placed in a traditional offset pattern or in a herringbone. The tile comes in Beige (a light brown), Oak (a medium brown with hints of grey), Blue (pewter with brown streaks), and Taupe. Mara Villanueva-Heras, formerly with Armstrong, has returned to the flooring business, joining Emser as its new VP of marketing. Hallmark Floors came out with True, a line of engineered hardwood inspired by bog wood-the wood from fallen trees buried in bogs and water, which over the centuries stains and preserves them. Hallmark’s technique uses salts and minerals to convey the unique colorations through the entire veneer. The line comes in oak, maple, hickory and pine in a range of colors. Two years ago, Hallmark acquired Teragren, a pioneer in bamboo flooring in the U.S. market. At the show, Teragren unveiled 14 new SKUs, including six SKUs in Essence, an engineered product with a 3mm strand bamboo veneer, and three SKUs of vertical solid bamboo in Wright Bamboo. Stanton came to the show, as always, with a huge number of introductions across its many brands. Under the Stanton brand, the firm introduced the Vintage Vogue collection, a face-to-face woven product made of Royaltron polypropylene and PolySilk, a silky polyester. Standout products from the collection include Haute Couture, a randomized open grid design realized through irregular vertical and horizontal striations, and Iconic, a striated diamond motif. Also noteworthy under Stanton is the Paradise collection of UV-stabilized PolySilk in a flatwoven construction for both indoor and outdoor use, including Cable Beach and Saunders Beach, featuring crisp constructions that showcase the contrasting yarns. Under the Rosecore brand, Stanton unveiled the Splendor collection with the high sheen of viscose or silk, though it’s actually a nylon, in a soft solid-color linear construction. The Silken collection under Antrim, also featuring a UV-stabilized PolySilk for outdoor applications, has a unique hand-spun look. And under the Hibernia Woolen Mills brand, acquired a year-and-a-half ago, the firm came out with Commonwealth, a tailored wool product with a low-key tight visual and good pattern movement. Somerset had on display new products that it is considering launching over the course of 2019. Its show floor included four new wide plank offerings for its Wide Plank collection and five low-gloss additions for its Specialty collection, and visitors to the booth were given surveys to vote for their favorites. The results will be evaluated and used to build a quarterly program, with one or two products launched each quarter. The company reports that its most popular products are its natural offerings in all species. The survey also asked visitors to vote on Somerset’s new Total Options Display concept, which allows for large product samples to be displayed alongside mini-samples for customers to take home, reducing sample costs. The display can be set up in a wall or island configuration. The big news for Kane at this year’s show was the introduction of a new slightly more upscale division called Herbanian Carpet. This new division focuses on hand-loomed broadloom combining synthetic yarn and wool, depending on the style. Initially, Herbanian will have 20 different designs with its own display rack. Another very compelling introduction from Kane was a collection of three new area rug styles that use an acid wash technique on a synthetic fiber to give them a look of a worn-out heirloom rug. Landmark Ceramics showcased four new cross-cut travertine looks and one marble look in its Frontier20 (20mm) outdoor tile collection. Travertine Cross Cut in Noce, Silver, Cream and White provides light textured looks, while the Michelangelo Extra White offers light grey veining in a marble look. The line is designed to withstand all weather conditions with its frost-proof and anti-slip properties. It also resists mold and moss. On the Landmark Contract side, metallics are new for 2019 in Landmark’s Boston collection of striated stone looks. Boston Gold, a light taupe, and Boston Silver, a pale pewter, come in 12”x24” planks and 2”x2” accent tiles. American Biltrite, a Canadian firm, was at the show with its UltraCeramic groutable 4mm LVT. The PVC base is 50% to 60% limestone, but it’s a flexible gluedown product. A commercial version with a 20 mil wearlayer will be introduced later this year. Last year, the firm unveiled Nfuse technology for its AB Pure rubber tile, infusing a polymer that seals the product, obviating the need for scrubbing upon installation and significantly reducing downtime. Earthwerks came to the show with a new strategy this year, focusing less on the sheer number of new product intros and more on clear messaging and strategic introductions, offering 24 new SKUs. Last year, the firm came out with its Noble Classics line in its Core rigid LVT program, and this year it has added to the line with 12 new SKUs. The firm’s SPC products, 24 in all under the Stadium line, feature LVT layers on the top and bottom for a balanced construction. All of the SPC products have in-register embossing. The line of 30 WPC products include six tile and stone visuals. The firm’s Stadium SPC features multi-width plank designs. About five years ago, Earthwerks bought the Pinnacle hardwood brand, and in the Pinnacle space booth this year the firm showcased its Calico collection, with two species, two widths, three stains and three surface treatments, all packaged together. The species are white oak and hickory, in 3” and 61/2” widths. New to the Earthwerks hardwood brand is Costa Brava, a premium product that is 9/16” thick with a 3mm sawn face of white oak and a multi-step staining process that adds depth. Its enhanced finish makes it suitable for light commercial along with residential applications. Beauflor launched its new Smartex Pro line of sheet vinyl with white textile backing for loose lay installation. Smartex Pro in Black Licorice is a distressed wood-look product, using variations of white and grey in a plank look. The line also offers a range of marble and stone looks. These “better” products are in addition to its “best” BlackTex HD line, which was originally launched as BlackTex a couple of years ago and has been relaunched this year in 12 new colors, targeting the commercial sector. BlackTex HD Expressionist in Ash and Ink offer black and grey distressed looks in a wood-look plank sheet vinyl. The patterns range from small wood-look strips to stone tile visuals. Beauflor launched its digitally printed vinyl rolls in 2018 and made a point to display those products in this year’s booth. The cobblestone with grass print vinyl is marketed as a floorcovering for an entryway into a residential setting, among many other uses. Other designs include peacock feathers, tropical leaves and a black marble oversized format tile look that could pass for the real thing. Nourison had no shortage of new products on hand at Surfaces 2019 from its Nourison, Nourtex and Hagaman Carpet brands. One striking new Nourison collection was Terazza, a 15’ wide broadloom in 100% wool with a subtle chevron pattern in some refreshing contemporary colorways, including an attractive navy, soft blue grey and gold. Another new 15’ wool collection from Nourison was Tacoma, a more linear pattern in a variety of natural and color-rich tones. For a look that’s a bit more blingy, there was City Lights, comprised of 95% wool and 5% Lurex, which added a nice luster to the style. In the Nourtex division there was a pretty patterned collection named Organic Trellis featuring a large diamond trellis pattern in several colorways-it was particularly striking in indigo. Urban Floor displayed its SPC wood-look products, launched last summer. Available in 20 colors, the Cascade Series features Urban Floor’s signature reactive stain but in a much harder, more durable product line. The scratch-resistant offerings are designed for both residential and commercial applications. Urban Floor reports that it is seeing its new product being placed in restaurants, hotels and hair salons. Prestige, the wholesale division of high-end Stark Carpet, sells to retailers and dealers that are not exclusive Stark showrooms. Prestige features mostly Wilton and woven carpets but has plenty of other offerings as well. Prestige’s Missoni collection features bright playful patterns in refreshingly fun colors, indicative of the high-end Italian Missoni fashion house known for colorful patterns. At a slightly lower price point, Prestige’s Weave-Tuft division has plenty of stunning collections. A big news items for Prestige at this year’s show was the availability of the Stark Studio Rugs, a line of hand-knotted rugs mostly from Nepal. Dealers who decide to carry this line will get the display, samples and access to Stark advertising and marketing. Inhaus launched its new Moto PVC-free resilient flooring that is slip-, fade-, stain-, chemical- and fire-resistant and comes with an AC6 wear rating. It is suited for heavy commercial environments, including assisted living and healthcare. The mineral composite core is waterproof and is topped with a 20 mil wearlayer made of polypropylene. All 12 SKUs are manufactured in Japan. Torlys showcased its new Ultra Floor collection, featuring Torlys Magnacore, a 100% mineral based core with an embossed HPL surface. The collection is available in six wood colors and six tile colors. Ultra Floor has a patented Uniclic installation system and Torlys Cork Plus Blue antimicrobial underlayment. The sound absorption of the product and the fire rating make this a popular flooring choice in the multifamily arena. American Wonder Porcelain launched four new tile collections in wood and stone looks. Ancient Wood offers Spruce, Birch, Walnut and Ash, designed for residential and commercial applications, while Braewood makes use of mottled wood looks in its four colors-each color has striations ranging from light grey to black running through the wood patterns. Enduring’s three stone looks-white, light gray and beige-come in 12”x24” planks. Winter Stone comes in two colors with subtle stone texturing and a clean, smooth finish. Aspen wood adhesive, a hybrid urethane, was just one of the new products in Taylor’s booth. This adhesive is a quick-curing formula with immediate grab. The formula allows the wood to move and flex without breaking the bond. It is approved for use with all types of hardwood flooring. Couristan launched 84 new products at this year’s Surfaces. In its mainstreet Creations line that hits a mid to high price point range, the firm added Tangier, a hand-knot inspired rug made from polypropylene and shrink yarn, creating a heavy high-low effect in five colors. Addington, a hand-loomed 100% wool broadloom product, is a stylized herringbone pattern in five colors and comes in a 15’ width. And according to the firm, customers are already ordering large volumes of the product. Couristan’s Royalax II collection is a proprietary line of Axminster cut-pile carpet in animal skin designs for residential and hospitality applications, made with 80% wool and 20% nylon. The collection, part of Couristan’s Premiere brand, comes in blue, beige and grey colorways and four patterns: Antelope-Ax, Zebra-Ax, Wildcat-Ax and Leopard-Ax. Välinge, the Swedish flooring innovation firm best known as the inventor of the click system, was at the show to talk about a couple of key innovations, like its Woodura and Nadura high performance flooring, with high definition printing directly on the wood powder and melamine face in the case of Nadura and a real wood top veneer in Woodura. However, most compelling in today’s flooring market is probably Liteback, an engineering innovation, using technology from Homag, that removes strips out of LVT backs to reduce the overall weight of the product with no diminution of performance characteristics. It’s an innovation that will not only save in raw material and shipping costs-it reduced the weight of the typical product by 20%-but will also hugely reduce environmental footprints and the volume of landfill-bound polymer. And the investment in the Homag machinery is surprisingly low. DuChâteau showed up to Surfaces with all new branding and displays and a bright gold logo. The black and gold product displays held a blend of current offerings and new introductions. The newest engineered wood colorways are inspired by nature and all feature DuChâteau’s signature hard-wax oil finish. Säand and Umber, new additions to the Strata collection, are sawn-face products in a deep brown and cool grey. Bravone is the only addition to the long-standing Chateau collection and is a mix of light brown and warm greys with a smooth finish. Sava and Lys are found in the Riverstone collection, and both are hand-sculpted with organic characteristics. Johnson Hardwood showcased its Reservoir series of SPC with a 0.4mm real hardwood veneer. The 11-SKU line features hickory, maple, oak and walnut across a range of colors and hues. And on the floor was the Sicily collection, also a wood visual, but without a real wood face. What’s notable about Sicily is that it offers multi-width planks (4”, 6” and 8”) in 6’ lengths. Sicily comes in four colors. Amorim Cork Composites came to Surfaces to promote its wide range of underlayments, in particular its sound control AcoustiCork underlayment, which comes in a wide variety for all types of hard surface and resilient flooring. Amorim is part of Corticeira Amorim, which is the world’s largest producer of cork products, with its business grouped into four fields: stoppers (wine corks), floor and wall coverings, insulation, and composites. Amorim was promoting its “Cork inside-the original green story” initiative at this year’s show, highlighting cork’s natural sustainable attributes. Home Legend introduced five new hardwood styles to its Created True collections: Emerson, Westfield, Remington, Penbrook and Morrison-all in a mix of woods. It also added eight styles to the Windmere Collection. Home Legend’s main LVT focus at this year’s show was the Foundations Collection, a 5.3mm luxury vinyl plank that is available in ten colors. The collection has a lifetime residential warranty and a 20-year commercial warranty. Another new LVT collection is Lenox, a mixed-width wood look offered in a range of colors. HPS Schönox used the Surfaces expo as a platform to launch its new Renotex 3D system specifically designed for flooring renovation projects in multifamily and apartment buildings. The system combines the use of a fabric and a rapid setting self-leveling compound to renew the substrate while also providing sound-deadening and fire-resistant qualities. Schönox is continuing to promote its focus on service and technical support with its “Ön It” marketing message. The firm also used the show to announce the winners of the fifth edition of its Man vs. Floor worst subfloor contest, with this year’s top award going to a hotel project installed by HJ Martin and Sons. MP Global featured its QuietWarmth radiant heat underlayment, which used to come in just one form but now is available as three products-one for floating floors, one for under tile products like porcelain and stone, and another as a retrofit for existing floors. While the floating floor version is a roll, the tile version uses a peel and stick application-and they can all be cut to length. The firm also showcased a range of acoustical underlayments, like QuietWalk Plus for floating, nail and glue applications and SoundStep, which works for all types of vinyl tile and features a Delta IIC of 22 for abatement of impact acoustics. In addition to launching new products, Laticrete showcased its product packaging redesign that simplifies the information, allowing for quick product identification. The redesign will hit shelves in April. Working with firms like Crossville to develop the most effective solutions, Laticrete launched Multimax Lite Large Heavy Tile Adhesive to serve the growing market for large slab tiles. Multimax Lite exceeds the ANSI A118.15 performance standard. Laticrete is also launching the “industry’s first three-in-one mortar” called 125 Tri Max. It is characterized by high-performance adhesive properties, a higher IIC rating than previous products and anti-fracture crack isolation protection. Creating Your Space was busy showing its customers its new digital tools for the flooring industry. The firm creates custom websites that can be built from an existing template or from the ground up and also builds in tracking tools to monitor SEO and pay-per-click as well as shopping features like “People Also Viewed” and “More Like This” to help customers choose products more efficiently. The firm analyzes sales revenue, competition, goals to grow and marketing investment to determine the optimal programs for its clients. The big news at QFloors was the introduction of QPro, a web-based technology with no installation required. This product is designed for companies looking for a point-of-sale system with flooring-specific features. It offers easy access at a price that smaller users can afford. At only $40 per month, it gives customers the ability to create customer proposals and invoices, full inventory management features, job costing, purchase orders, commissions and installer billing. QFloors provides training and online videos to instruct new users. Schluter Systems had a larger booth at the show this year and had several new products on hand to exhibit. One new product, Schluter Shelves, offers brushed stainless steel shower shelves that can be easily installed in new or existing tile showers. They are available in both a curve and floral pattern in five different shapes and sizes to match Schluter’s point and linear shower drains with the same design. Schluter also had a small prototype of the new metal profiles for LVT that will be available later this summer. The collection of profiles are named Vinpro S (wall or floor profile), Vinpro RO (profile for stairs or wall corner), Vinpro Step (for stairs), Vinpro T (for even transitions) and Vinpro U (for transitions to a lower surface).
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Post time: Nov-20-2019