Expect the mood to be subdued but hopeful as manufacturers try to break new ground in product introduction and attendees try to find ways for their businesses to stay afloat in these trying times.

"SURFACES 2010 will continue to deliver the products, tools, technology, and education that floor covering professionals will require to not only sustain [themselves] during this challenging economic climate, but grow and profit," the show materials state.

Flooring, like all other sectors of the housing market, has been hit by the housing downturn as fewer houses are built and homeowners scale back on whole-house renovations. But unlike home building, the flooring industry has one saving grace: Existing-home owners often tackle smaller projects such as installing new carpet in the family room or den, or adding ceramic tile in the kitchen.

Attended by floor covering retailers, distributors, installers, architects, designers, and builders, SURFACES (owned by Hanley Wood, publisher of BUILDER Magazine and www.builderonline.com) will feature more than 700 manufacturers and suppliers displaying products in such categories as carpet, tile, hardwood, rugs, and laminate flooring.

In addition to a new products pavilion, the show offers education workshops and seminars and live demonstrations. On-Floor Education Stages will focus on four "hot topics" related to the floor covering industry: Sustainability, Design & Trends, Business & Technology, and Installation.

Despite the economic climate, manufacturers at SURFACES are likely to introduce some interesting new products that will be of interest to builders, architects, and remodelers:

Crossville will exhibit new products in its Porcelain Stone line and will feature Cotto Americana, a price-conscious line for residential and commercial projects. The company will also show Urban Renewal, a metal tile with 50 percent post-consumer recycled content. www.crossvilleinc.com

In keeping with the eco trend, Enviro Hardwood will highlight new offerings in its recovered hardwood flooring, which the manufacturer pulls from a manmade lake in Suriname, South America.

Anderson Floors will display its Virginia Vintage Crossfire, a handscraped, wide-plank maple flooring. It will come in four colors and with the company's Luster-Lock Ultra finish for three times more scuff and abrasive resistance. www.andersonfloors.com

Look for Armstrong's Luxe Plank, an easy-to-install resilient vinyl floor in hardwood colors and textures as well as in longer plank lengths. The line signals Armstrong's entry into the floating luxury vinyl plank category, the company says. www.armstrong.com

Dal-Tile will present a product from its Stone a'la Mod line with "patterns and shapes that go far beyond the basic natural stone tile," the company says. www.daltileproducts.comweaetxdyvaydzcwq

In another nod to innovation in low-cost flooring, Congoleum will debut a new generation of sheet flooring with AirStep Evolution. The product features the Stain Defense System technology that makes it easy to clean and maintain. It's available in four designs and 18 colors. www.congoleum.com

Nigel F. Maynard is a senior editor for BUILDER magazine.

While it may not be as large as the International Builders' Show that was held only two weeks ago, SURFACES, the show about all things floor related, kicks off its annual convention today in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Photo by Nigel F. Maynard