The International Surface Event (TISE), which took place January 18 to 20, 2017, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, brought together the best and brightest in flooring. The 2017 show proved to be one of the biggest and most engaging yet with products and services representing all corners of the globe. Upwards of 700 exhibitors showcased product in exhibitions spanning more than 400,000 square feet.
Trends highlighted at TISE:
Between exhibits, special events and educational sessions, retailers and installers had a lot to discover on and off the show floor.
Although it’s not always easy stepping away from her store, retailer Aimee Reed of Coast Supply Co. /Coast Home in Carpinteria, Calif., says the annual trip to TISE is always worth it.
“It’s hard to leave your store to come, but it’s really valuable; the relationships you get with your reps and the new products that you find that you didn’t have before,” she said.
For Reed and her team, the trip to TISE 2017 helped to identify new products to add to Coast Supply Co. /Coast Home’s growing product offering and newest California showroom.
“Business is good,” said Reed. “We just opened a second showroom. It’s brand new and just at the beginning stages, but it’s looking like it’s going to be really successful.”
Retailer duo James and Pam Jacobs described TISE 2017 with one word: interesting. Long-time attendees of the show, the Jacobs have seen many product trends come and go over the years. This year, hard surface trends are what caught their eyes.
“I’m loving all the new luxury vinyl planks and new SKUs that are out,” said James.
For the Jacobs, TISE is an annual opportunity to not only see what’s trending, but to reconnect with old friends.
“We come back every year to see what’s new, to meet and greet old friends and to relationship build,” James said.
After a 10-year hiatus from TISE, California retailer Amy Fipps also mentioned a noticeable increase in hard surface trends at the show.
“There’s so much LVP and hard surface trends going on and a lot less carpet—which is just the way that things seem to be going,” she said.
For Fipps, who hoped to see updated trends and network at the show, the return to TISE was well worth it. “We’ve seen a lot of friendly faces and we’ve had some great discussions,” she said.
Representing both sides of the industry, retailer Teresa Harrington and her husband installer Ward Harrington visited the show in hopes of seeing what’s new in tile.
“To get anything that is new and different, you cannot shop in our area,” Teresa said. “So we come here to see what’s new and coming out, and when we have people come to us we can give them better ideas and recommend unique products.”
Ward found the product and installation demonstrations offered at TISE 2017 informative, and he emphasized that more installers should regularly attend shows like TISE to benefit from the complimentary installation and education sessions that are offered.
When the economy began to show signs of improvement, Brock Richards decided to change careers, leave his desk job and join his friends in the flooring installation industry. With less than a year of experience under his belt, Richards attended TISE 2017 with Elite Coastal Construction’s installation team to learn more about the industry and to see what’s new on the market.
“The company I work for wanted to expose us to what’s new on the market. [They wanted us to] take a look around at what’s going to make our job faster and make us more efficient,” Richards said.
Specializing in high-end residential projects, the Elite Coastal team was also on the hunt for products and installation techniques that will make them unique and able to meet the demands of their high-end customers. In his efforts to continuously learn and grow as an installer, Richards said he found TISE’s Installation Showcase demonstrations informative and beneficial, and he looks forward to periodically attending the show in the future to stay informed about what’s happening in the industry.
Phil Green, tile setter and owner of P. G. C. Construction, Remodeling and Design in Gilberts, Ill., attended Surfaces to promote Green’s newest installation tool, Edge Strip Kits, which help with the installation and use of self-leveling underlayment. “Edge Strip Kits can be used when pouring self-leveling underlayment for any application,” Green said.
Joshua Greenwell, CFI, of DFP LLC in Torrington, Conn., came to TISE to become certified in carpet installation. “I specialize in carpet installations and wanted to enhance my skills. We did hands-on training and gained more knowledge with professionals in the field. Being a certified installer brings an added level of comfort to the customer knowing that their job is in good hands.”
There were new products and marketing strategies aimed to help dealers and the buzz of innovation around every corner at the show. Here is just a taste of what we spotted:
There’s no stopping the creation and innovation in the luxury vinyl tile/plank (LVT/P) market today, and the trend was noticeable on the show floor. “You could call it the WPC show,” said Keith Spano, president of Flooring America and Flooring Canada. That sentiment was heard from many retailers and distributors as manufacturers rolled out their take on this rapidly growing product category.”
“LVT is a very competitive market,” said Amy Tucker, product manager-LVT, IVC. “Our Vision and Horizon products, which launched recently, are designed and made in our US facility. We make everything in house, which allows us to control and respond to the market quickly to stay competitive. We see a lot of greige and we are doing a lot of color variation in a range of colors, which sets us apart.”
Armstrong launched waterproof Vivero, which they are calling luxury flooring instead of LVT because its composition is a rigid core made of limestone and PVC topped by a Diamond 10 coating. Diamond 10 allows for “unprecedented” scratch and stain resistance in addition to cleanability.
Karndean introduced its Premier Grade Rigid Core Click Flooring. “This is our entry into that arena,” said Emil Mellow, vp of marketing. “This is two years in the making. It is 56x9”. It’s got a 62 IIC rating plus we have a proprietary core.”
Mellow said the product development team took inspiration on color trends from the Color Marketing Group to develop a series that would be flexible for a variety of environments. “Understanding that this is the base of a project, it has to complement warm tones in some environments and cool tones in others. Then we get character grade, which is good for commercial projects like hospitality and bars. It will also do well in schools, such as in dormitories and senior living. They need to be in and out with quick installation and it has to be waterproof.”
Novalis showcased several products, including Abberly, a 2.5 mm solid vinyl tile and plank that part of its main street collection. “These emulate the look of cementitious tile with much easier installation and less maintenance,” said CEO Jon Wu. “It’s a more entry-level price point with a very nice decorative visual. Consumers and specialty shops want something different.”
The company has invested in manufacturing and product innovation, expanding its Novacor WPC flooring by adding an extra-large format. The collection launched last year with which launched last year with a 6x48” plank, “This WPC, which we call high-performance core, is a growing category, and it answers not having a perfect subfloor to install it, so it’s a nice product to have and we wanted to offer our dealers an option to expand this category,” Wu said.
Swiff-Train is no newcomer to the LVT market. In fact, the company has been selling the product for four decades, according to Lindsey Nisbet, strategic marketing and product development, Earthwerks. “Our goal has been to make it easier for our customers by building a step-by-step process,” she said. The company launched two new WPC, or wood plastic/polymer composite collections, Parkhill Premium and Sherbrooke, and two luxury vinyl tiles collections, Development Collection and Domain.
USFloors is introducing another generation of its Coretec WPC product, Coretec Plus Enhanced, which features an enhanced bevel and an epoxy edge. “At the end of the day, it’s more about fashion and color if it’s going into the consumer’s home,” said Jamann Stepp, director of marketing and product development, USFloors. “If we created the category, and there’s a mad rush in flooring, we don’t want to participate in the mad rush to the bottom on price. Consumers are looking for flooring that they don’t have to worry about, is maintenance free and offers the style they want.”
Floors with highly decorative surfaces are back in style, and this was evident in the resilient flooring category. A chameleon of flooring, sheet flooring can be designed to look like anything. Mannington introduced five new looks to resilient collection, including Deco, which is an authentic reproduction of 12-inch encaustic tiles.
Amie Foster, national accounts manager, IVC, says the company views TISE as its distributor show, introducing new designs and checking in to ensure that new launches will resonate with their customers. This year’s sheet vinyl launches included hues of gray and greige and visuals such as geometrics, brick, chevron and herringbone patterns.
“LVT products and WPC products are really taking market share from sheet vinyl, so we need to make sure our product category stays relevant, on trend and a leader in design,” Foster says. “Sheet vinyl really is the first waterproof product on the market, and we updated our graphics visually to help our customers understand that this product is for everyday life.”
As a leader in sheet vinyl, Beauflor offers a wide and varied selection of cushion vinyl rolls and vinyl planks for residential and commercial applications. Its new Blacktex collection combines the benefits of LVT with cushion vinyl roll to create a luxury vinyl roll (LVR)—a loose lay sheet that can cover up to 500 sf. in one piece. The company said the product will not move, wrinkle or tear, unlike traditional sheet products, and there is little to no subfloor prep required for installation.
In an effort to leverage the brand recognition of PetProtect, Invista Stainmaster introduced LiveWell, a brand of carpet that makes allergens easier to remove. The carpet system is designed with AllerShield Technology, which reduces the dust and allergy-aggravating particles that bond to the fiber, and will be available in early 2017.
Mohawk demonstrated its new Airo carpet—a product that Tom Lape, Mohawk residential president, calls “a new category in soft flooring” for both its unique construction and simplified installation.
Rodney Mauter, executive vp of Lexmark Carpet, unveiled a new, streamlined retail fixture featuring a new company logo, larger sample cards, and more ways to guide the retail sales person to sell color and pattern. “We visited a lot of showrooms and the best advice we got from retailers is to make the fixture something remarkable,” Mauter said. “Selling pattern can be a challenge for an RSA [retail sales association]. When you look at pattern, it can stymie a sale, so we put information boards on how it works so that they don’t fear pattern.”
Phenix Floors continued to see growth in carpet in 2016, according to Mark Clayton, president of the company. Entering 2017 with a continued focus on consumer’s needs, the company introduced the Cleaner Home Collection. With built in Microban antimicrobial technologies, Cleaner Home is the carpet that “keeps cleaning even after you’ve stopped cleaning,” according to the company.
White, gray, greige and judicious pops of color were seen among tile manufacturers at TISE. Large-format rectangles, hexagons and elongated martini shapes were some of the most popular formats.
Daltile previewed Panoramic porcelain slabs, measuring 10.5 x 5.3 ft. and come in 6 mil. and 12 mil. thicknesses. Available in April 2017, and can be used for floor, wall or countertop. “These will start in hospitality and commercial markets and will move into the remodeling market,” said Kim Albrecht, senior brand marketing manager.
Crossville debuted Nest, a tile collection that features two wood grains in a range of colors for customizable looks and will launch in February.
MSI curated four new porcelain lines which were unveiled at TISE. Among them are Pietra Bernini, a glazed tile collection inspired by travertine; Domino Porcelain, which features a black and white classic look; Vintage, which emulates the look of aged barn wood; and Tektile, a play on textile patterns.
With a nod to the trend of light, fresh interiors, Mannington’s 2017 hardwood flooring designs combine rustic elements with softer, less saturated hues for a clean aesthetic that’s modern and versatile. The company’s introductions include wide, long planks that are subtly textured and distressed, then stained in an on-trend color palette.
Pinnacle launched an array of new hardwood products that reflect today’s tastes in color and texture for every region of the country. Swiff-Train acquired the intellectual property and name of the hardwood brand in November 2015, and Brenda Cashion, hardwood product development manager and marketing strategy, said her goal was to expand Pinnacle’s reach and create more “floors with texture you can feel with your eyes.” Cashion said even though Swiff-Train sells containers of hardwood to its customers, the company is nimble and can change the mix of products in those containers as needed to accommodate the changing regional preferences of its customers.