Exploring the International Surface Event 2018 with Kate and Warren

Posted by Kate Spencer on Feb 22nd 2018

Are you familiar with The International Surface Event (TISE)? It takes place in January every year in Las Vegas, NV. Kate and Warren have just returned. They share these highlights with you.

Perspective on the International Surface Event

This trade show is actually three world-class shows in one - SURFACES, StonExpo/Marmomac, and Tile Expo - and THE industry marketplace for floorcovering, stone, and tile industry professionals. During the four impressive days of the show, you are sure to find the newest products, hands-on demos, inspiring trends, key manufacturers + industry suppliers, along with unmatched education and networking opportunities.


SURFACES is the largest North American flooring event serving the entire floorcovering industry. It brings together buyers and sellers from around the world to see the latest floor covering products, tools, trends, services, and technologies.

The official sponsor of SURFACES is the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), the industry's largest advocacy organization representing flooring retailers, contractors, and allied service providers throughout North America.


StonExpo/Marmomac is the stone event for the stone industry professional, featuring specialty stone and machinery areas with exhibitions of stone and stone supplies from 7 countries, plus stone tools, equipment, services, and demonstrations from leading manufacturers and associations.

Home to the MIA+BSI annual meeting, the official sponsors are the Marble Institute of America (MIA) + the Building Stone Institute (BSI), and the Natural Stone Council (NSC).


TileExpo is the newest tile industry event in the United States serving distributors, retailers, installers, builders, and design professionals. Featuring leading tile manufacturers and suppliers displaying products from artisan to ceramic, decorative to glass, and more. Buyers and sellers can find the tile products, tools, and services they need at TileExpo.

Official Sponsors of TileExpo are the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation and the National Tile Contractors Association.

Exploring What Caught Kate and Warren's Eye During the International Surface Event 2018

Exploring such an event as TISE is a lot like wandering through a dream-come-true candy store. Everywhere you look, you notice interesting new products and ideas. That said, here's what particularly caught our eye:

  • Waterproof rigid core flooring products
  • Mortar innovation
  • Tile and mosaics
  • Wood that glows in the dark
  • Impressive machinery

Let's explore in more detail, then you can let us know which you find most interesting.

Waterproof Rigid Core Products

Perhaps most exciting were the different rigid core flooring products on display.

We started the event checking out the LVT, WPC and SPC click waterproof rigid core products.

  • LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile
  • WPC stands for Wood Plastic Core
  • SPC stands for Stone Polymer Composite. These are the newest waterproof flooring materials available on the market.

We were impressed with the options available as you can see from these images.

Below you see examples of solid polymer core with 60% limestone.

We met also with the folks at US Floors to learn about their rigid core products. They are known for producing COREtec.

This summer, they will be launching products with stone looks as you can see from the image below of their booth floor.

This is a 12x24 click waterproof rigid core product that even mimics grout joints to look like real tile installation.

Here are some more stone tile looks in the rigid core material.

With digital printing technology, you can put anything on the front of a surface. Stay tuned as these items are being launched in the summer for US Floors.

US Floors has some really nice rigid core planks to choose from. These items all come in different wear layers and formats.

Stay tuned as we venture into this flooring product arena.

Thin Set Mortar Innovation

We were particularly excited about Merkrete's new Dustless Technology and can't wait to share with our customers and contractors the three new Dustless products: 705, 710 and 720 Premium Set Plus thin set mortar.

As you know, setting materials are very dusty and dirty. To address this, Merkrete has patented technology to make dumping a bag of thin set dustless. We watched the demonstration and couldn’t believe how innovative this product is not just for stores, but also for the homeowner when setting materials are being mixed indoors.

Way to go Merkrete! This was a very exciting technology.

Tile and Mosaic Introductions

We came across many exciting new tile products.

Mirror Mosaics

We loved the mirror mosaics we encountered at Glazzio Tiles. Glazzio always has fun mosaics.

For TISE18, their booth was focused on mirror mosaics. Look at all the cool designs in the images below. And look at how the mirrors in the mosaics create dimension based on the shimmer and reflections from the mirrors.

Above, you see a chevron pattern on the left and diamonds on the right.

Below, the mirrors form a herringbone pattern in combination with natural stone.

The end result is really classy and elegant.

Tile Selections

We spent time with our friends at Delconca USA who showed selections from their USA production as well as their Italian production.

They also are strong in the market with the Due2 collection for porcelain 2 cm pavers.

We really loved the new Vignoni Wood collection from Italy pictured below.

Vignoni Wood consists of 8x48 wood tile planks and comes in four colors.

Next, we explored Mediterranea.

Mediterranea had many great collections on display.

We were really fond of the Woodsman Collection which comes in an 8x48 format.

It has a real rustic feel of wood that has been time-worn and still looks rich.

Big on the inspiration front was Marrazzi where Kate had a lot of fun.

Marazzi had really cool tile designs set up around the booth. Kate definitely got into “Spread your Wings.”

Here's another great Marazzi display "Dare to Dream” which integrated with beautiful tile concepts.

Wood that glows in the dark

Sometimes, you come across products that are almost beyond description. This may be one of them... a display about Illuminating Wood.

Picture entering a dark room and watching a demonstration of how the woods will glow in the dark. Not only will it glow, but you can also write on the wood with special markers so that the words light up in the dark.

Definitely a fun idea for a kid's room or a nightclub with the neon lights.

This is the effect in the darkroom when the lights are off.

Here they demonstrated how they just paint the illumination on the wood planks to get the look.

Impressive machinery

You can't experience TISE without exposing yourself to impressive machinery. After all, this show focuses on the tools and equipment for the flooring industry.

This booth caught my eye because I love the way everyone was lined up against the fence to watch stone craftsman competing with one another to make a granite edge. The crowd was totally engaged in the activity behind the fence.

Below you see a piece of equipment which cuts granite countertops.

As you can see, it was SOLD and there were many other large pieces of equipment with SOLD signs on them.

Nice to see this technology and the advances we have made in perfecting this craft.

Here are articles from previous Surfaces we've attended:

>> Flooring & Tile Trends From The International Surface Event 2014

>> What's New in Tile Installation Products From TISE West 2015

>> Top Tile Trends: Hexagon, Wood, Marble, Patterns and Gold!

Which Are Your Favorite Highlights from the International Surface Event?

Did you attend TISE18? What stood out from your perspective?

Thanks for reading!