Among a sea of carpeting and wood flooring sameness, a collection of products at SURFACES here in Las Vegas stands out. These offerings on display do not fit into neat little categories, but here are some of the themes from this year's show that are making a lasting impression: sustainable products, high-performance stains and mortars, and cool but affordable tiles. Here are some other buzz-worthy products from SURFACES.

VIFAH Worldwide: Anyone can use wood to build a deck or patio, but this interlocking deck-tile line is one way to spice up the installation. Made from FSC-certified eucalyptus, ipe, or teak, the tiles are made from wood attached to a UV-resistant polypropylene and polyethylene base that snaps together like a jigsaw puzzle to form funky designs. Tiles measure 12 inches by 12 inches.


Saman: Nature is a water-based low-VOC floor finishing that offers the performance of an oil-based product. Flooring projects only need two coats: the first to penetrate and protect the substrate, and the second to protect and add durability to the entire floor. It's made with aluminum oxide and comes in 1- and 5-gallon cans.

Crossville: In a departure from its typically high-end products, this manufacturer has unveiled Cotto Americana, a porcelain stone line that will appeal to price-conscious consumers. The moderately priced product—about $5 per square foot—comes in three field-tile sizes, trim pieces, and 2-inch mosaics mounted on a 12-inch mesh sheet. Plank shapes are also available through the company's new Get Planked! Program, which offers a variety of plank sizes with no minimum order and a short lead time.

Laticrete: Really large format tiles are gaining in popularity, and now there is an adhesive mortar that keeps up. This one, 4-XLT, is a multipurpose, polymer-fortified product that allows large and heavy tiles to be installed on the wall without sagging. Ideal for flooring applications as well, the product has a smooth consistency and offers a strong bond.

Diamond Tech Tiles: The Vista Series, which is designed for homes in the $200,000 price range, offers the shimmering organic look of a much more high-end product. The kiln-formed glass tiles have a rippling texture and subtle variations in color that give it a handmade quality. It comes in rounds, ovals, and traditional square mosaics in a variety of colors.

Photo by John Granen [Teragren photo credit: John Granen] Teragren: For those buyers who want bamboo flooring with a traditional wood look, Portfolio hits all the right notes. The strand bamboo product gives home buyers the look of traditional hardwood, but with the hardness of bamboo. Up to 125 percent harder than North American maple, the floating floor product comes in 10 designer colors in a variety of patterns and textures such as hand-scraped.

Stone Peak: Ceramic tiles featuring the manufacturer's Active clean air and antibacterial technology are able to clean the air from harmful organic and inorganic substances, eliminate bacteria, and promote self-cleaning. The tiles feature titanium dioxide, which acts as a photocatalyst in the presence of light. It's available on a handful of the manufacturer's products in a limited number of lighter shades.

Fontenay: Sourcing used wine barrels from the Napa Valley region of California, the company offers flooring under its Vintage Barrel Collection. Three distinctive looking products with different marking from various parts of the barrel are available. Shown here, the Cooperage from outside of the barrel head shows all the patina, cooper stamps, and special markings. The largely white oak products come in various lengths and widths.

Nigel Maynard is senior editor, products, at BUILDER magazine. Follow him on Twitter at