Flooring, stone and tile professionals make the trek to The International Surface Event 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA).

The annual gathering of surface industry professionals happened once again in Las Vegas at The International Surface Event (TISE), a trade show co-located with StonExpo/Marmomac and TileExpo.

It’s an event conducted on a scale unlike most trade shows in Australia. According to organisers, Informa Exhibitions: “Attendees came from 77 countries and from every corner of North America to buy, source, network, and discover what is new, needed, and up-and-coming for their businesses”.

A major benefit of attending live markets is to be able to catchup and network with business acquaintances, old and new. As with most major trade events, it presents an opportunity to conduct face-to-face meetings with key and potential customers and see the latest products first hand.

A trend discovered at TISE 2019 related to the ease of installation for floors, walls and backsplashes. New exhibitor, Cal-Flor Accessory Systems, featured its OMUR On the Wall, a unique wall mount system which allows mounting of click floors on the wall.

Emerging for the second year in a row are magnetic installation products as displayed by Intelli-Force Magnetix and Magnetic Building Solutions. They have a magnetic backing and base underlayment that adheres wood, stone, and tile to nearly any commercial and residential surface.

TISE also has a strong education program that begins a day before the trade exhibits are open. This year, it launched CONVERGE which “offers the industry a new way to gain training, knowledge, and information”. The program was reconfigured into three targeted persona-based interest groups: Creatives, Suits and Hammer + Nails.

With its flexible scheduling to give participants time to see exhibits and attend other events, the CONVERGE program came about after feedback and is designed for “immersive, targeted discussions”. Participants also had the flexibility to pass freely between sessions to gain the type of knowledge needed.

Technical topics included “Moisture Mitigation Roundtable” and “The Ways of Water: Critical Considerations for Shower Construction”. Design-centric, forecasting sessions had topics such as “Colour Vibes: A Journey Through Colour and Trends” and “The Power of 5: The 5 Hottest Trends in Flooring & The 5 Types of People Buying Them”. TISE plans to grow, adjust, and make ongoing improvements to ensure it meets the education needs of the industry.

Mandalay Bay Convention Center is a 93,000sqm facility that hosts TISE. Over 800 companies – 135 were new to the event – presented their products. The exhibit hall experienced the return of Shaw Industries presenting its Anderson Tuftex, COREtec and US Floors lines. There were creative displays and events from Mohawk brands including Quick Step, Daltile, Marrazzi/American Olean, PERGO, IVC, Australia’s Godfrey Hirst and large sets from Mannington and Engineered Floors.

TISE 2019 also had the Product Demo Stage at The Design + Installation Showcase Hub (DISH), located on the show floor. Mapei USA and building materials company USG offered daily demonstrations each hour, covering topics from shower and floor prep to installing floors in a flash. Participating companies at The DISH were Custom Building Products, DriTac Flooring Products, Johns Manville, Merkrete/Parex and DryTile North America.

Sharing stories

Leading up the event, industry participants provided their perspectives on their products, and what makes them unique in the #mySURFACEstory campaign.

Once on-site, TISE presented Surfaces Live in conjunction with Floor Covering News magazine. Exhibiting companies shared their product innovations, the ingenuity behind their products, and live demonstrations on camera. People were encouraged to view the videos online, on Facebook, and to share this content directly with their customers via their own company’s social media pages.

American Biltrite, Anderson Tuftex, Congoleum Corp., COREtec/US Floors, Daltile, Dixie Home, DuChateau, Emser Tile, Engineered Floors, Forbo Flooring Systems, Hearthwood, HPS Schonox, Inhaus/Classen, I4F Patents & Technology, Mannington, Measure Square Corp., Mohawk, PERGO, Raskin Gorilla Floors, Southwind Carpet & Hard Surface, and Tarkett were all actively taking part in Surfaces Live 2019.

Armstrong Flooring

Australian made products, Accolade® Plus, Accolade Foothold, Accolade Safe and Wallflex were shown to the Flooring magazine team when it visited the Armstrong Flooring stand. “They are all developed and manufactured at our factory in Braeside (VIC) from where we export to 22 countries, including China and the USA,” explains Melbourne-based strategic marketing manager, Michael Keam.

Accolade Plus is the company’s most durable vinyl sheet floor. Designed in a range of colours to complement individual designs, it has a highly accented jaspe (multi-colour chip) visual and an embossed surface texture to help hide dirt created in high traffic conditions. It’s an exclusive homogeneous formulation that includes replenishing polyurethane throughout the thickness of the floor and a protective polyurethane finish to reduce initial and ongoing maintenance.

Accolade Foothold features aluminium oxide particles for added slip resistance encapsulated in a polyurethane surface to aid maintenance and provide additional resistance against staining. It is recommended for use in “wet barefoot areas” such as bath and shower rooms.

Accolade Safe is an innovation in slip resistant vinyl sheet flooring. Developed as an enhanced slip- retardant, easy maintenance floor covering with a broad range of colours.

Wallflex has become the Australian standard for durable, hygienic wall covering, according to Armstrong Flooring. Clean and simple by design, it provides a seamless coating for healthcare interiors needing a low maintenance, long lasting wall covering that resists scratching, scuffing and denting.

Karndean Designflooring

Communications manager at Karndean, Katherine (Kat) Caringola told Flooring magazine that TISE has always been very effective in terms of both sales and a brand presence.

“Our booth structure allows us to introduce Karndean Designflooring to those who are unfamiliar and showcase what sets us apart from others in the flooring industry, including the way we search the world for intriguing natural forms and use what we recover to develop our own original product designs. This is the show where we introduce our new products each year, so there is always a new and exciting story to tell both new and existing customers,” she said.

Karndean Designflooring has exhibited at TISE since 2015 and it has proven to be a valuable show because it is the largest retail sector-focused flooring show in the US.

Around 45 new Karndean products debuted at TISE 2019 with the latest designs available across gluedown, loose lay and rigid core constructions.

Following the success of the company’s premier rigid core collection, Korlok Select, Karndean will add Hawaiian Koas, English and European Oaks, and American Barnwood visuals to the range. Featuring waterproof, 100% PVC K-Core technology for installation over most existing hard floors, Korlok Select has the security of the HoldFast 5G Locking Mechanism, which guarantees securely locked planks stay in place.

The company’s award-winning Karndean LooseLay Longboard collection, a non-interlocking floating range, adds eight designs that can be categorised as either Fabric Oaks, American Pines, or European Oaks. Due to its 59” length and loose lay application, this collection is ideal for overnight retrofits and projects that require a speedy turnaround. LooseLay Longboard allows for an easy transition to carpet tile, its planks and tiles may be individually replaced, and it reduces noise transfer by 16dB.

Makinex Construction Products

According to Makinex national sales manager, Stuart Reynolds, TISE is an excellent platform to showcase its product and brand to an audience that is very relevant to the flooring industry. “Leads were strong and generally related to performing a task or application with greater productivity or efficiency.

“The event also provides a good opportunity for our team to be educated on the products and brands that drive the industry and we can explore opportunities to partner or align with other companies.

“With the global footprint the US market offers us, we are encouraged to develop continued innovation in the surfaces-related industries. We will be attending this event again next year to build on the momentum we gained from this year’s show,” he said.

Some of the products displayed at the stand include the Jack Hammer Trolley that enables fast and easy removal of materials from concrete or wooden floor surfaces. It reduces impact and vibration on the user yet allows greater control of the jack hammer. This product can work up to six times faster than using a jack hammer alone.

The Makinex Mixing Station is marketed as a solution for self-levelling cements, compounds and epoxies. It mixes 100kg of product in less than three minutes and reduces fatigue and risk of injury. The Mixing Station is also easy to manoeuvre around a job site.

Godfrey Hirst

Following Mohawk Industries’ acquisition of Godfrey Hirst in 2017, the well-regarded Australia brand built on its long-established heritage for quality and performance by offering the latest colours, patterns, textures and fibres at TISE including, for the first time, several SmartStrand carpets.

The Godfrey Hirst SmartStrand carpets benefit from this fibre’s softness, durability and built-in stain resistance that won’t wear or wash off. It has a mixture of textures, loops, patterns and tonal looks including Modern Passage, Delicate Tracery, Welcome Tradition, Exquisite Reputation, Beautiful Tradition and Subtle Tones. Godfrey Hirst’s full collection of 2019 SmartStrand will have a combination of styles from the SmartStrand family including SmartStrand Ultra, SmartStrand Silk and SmartStrand Reserve. In addition, Godfrey Hirst also presented four new tufted wool styles.

World Floor Covering Association

Scott Humphrey, president and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) believes the event works well as way to recruit and promote members. He said: “Overall we had a strong show. As is tradition, since our selling of the show to Hanley Wood who later sold it to the current owner Informa, TISE is our primary show for signing new members and interacting with our current membership base. This year was no different. There was great interaction and a steady flow of people. The WFCA booth was once again one of the busiest booths at the show. That says a lot since we aren’t showing and selling product.

“One of our primary focuses was touting what we are doing to positively impact the installation crisis. We also focused on our online education offerings through the WFCA University, a new app based on the installation challenge, and lobbying efforts in Washington DC intended to free up our members to do what they do best – meet the needs of the end user and return a profit.”

Humphrey is enthusiastic about Australian companies becoming WFCA members and attending TISE. “Surfaces has moved from being a primarily US show to one that meets the needs of the entire global market. Because it is the first major show after the New Year, it is the place to go to see new products and better understand global trends,” he added.

Save the date: The International Surface Event will be held 28-30 January 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas (USA).