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Surfaces 2023: A review

Main image: Karndean

The annual flooring show, Surfaces, was held in Las Vegas this year and is being touted as being back to pre-pandemic form. Here we bring you a review of the show.

Product and construction

Rigid luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) have driven resilient flooring growth over the past decade and have now unseated carpets as the largest revenue-producing flooring category in North America.

Some important changes in this category include the development of hybrid products; LVT products are experimenting with the melamine layers that give the laminate category good scratch resistance, and laminates are modifying their cores to compete with the waterproof properties of LVTs.

New technology removes need for vinyl caps

The rigid core category is being elevated with the use of digital print and embossing technologies, which print directly on the core, removing the need for vinyl caps. This works well with the trend towards PVC-free resilient tile, which has been stronger in the commercial market and is now moving into residential lines.

The rise of laminate flooring is also worth noting, with market leader Mohawk coming out with click joints that seal out water, allowing for waterproof installations in competition with LVTs. Just as there was a surge of suppliers entering the SPC market a few years ago, the trend is now being seen in the laminate category.

Photo: Magnifique

On the carpet side, there was a lot of experimentation in PET, including PET recycled from plastic bottles, which is continuing to grow commercially, including hybrid carpet tile forms.

Hard surface: Design and colour

Photo: Mannington

While the wood look still accounts for the majority of resilient and laminate designs, as well as a fair portion of porcelain designs, stone and traditional tile visuals are enjoying a resurgence. Rigid LVTs with marble and travertine designs in both low and high gloss were on display, while marble looks were popular although the veining is more subdued than in recent years. One of the more interesting tile designs in sheet goods was a geometric star motif form, as well as plenty of terrazzo looks.

In both porcelain and LVTs, encaustic looks were trending in every corner – from interpretations of traditional, formal motifs like black and white designs to bold creative expressions.

On the real wood front, there were some strong colour trends. The years-long trend towards pale, dry looks in white oak planks was still evident, but more interesting was the movement back towards gold and even orange hues. These colours were seen in both hardwood and faux wood.

There is a move in how wood’s characteristics are conveyed. Graining effects have been minimised so that they only come into focus when they are right in front of you, in a more intimate and personal point of view.

Soft surface: Design and colour

Photo: Kaleen

One of the themes in carpet was clarity in terms of colour – colour contrasts, textures and patterning showed more clarity and less muddiness. Earthy neutrals tended towards light and bright, including some peachy tones. Beyond the neutrals, blues and greens were most prevalent.

At the higher end, black and white products in both traditional and contemporary looks were seen together with lots of textures and patterning with plaids and striated products, elevated by tweed banding.

Animal prints have been a staple at the high end of the market and are getting more visibility due to the expansion of decorative carpet, a lot of which gets formatted into custom cut rugs. Some of the broadlooms at the show were designed in part for how they will work as area rugs.

Golden woods, geometric and encaustic patterns, and terrazzo feature in LVTs, laminates and tiles while carpets play with textured plaids.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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