Innovative Aesthetics

Nawkaw Corporation

Formally established in Toronto in 1988, Nawkaw Corporation has grown to have an international presence. It is now headquartered in Athens, Georgia and has offices across the United States, Canada and Australia since its ability to solve problems related to masonry color is appreciated around the world. Projects include restoration and corrective coloring, applying colors to concrete and masonry, and other commercial services including cleaning, surface preparation and graffiti removal.
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“We really came into the industry solving color problems for brick. Like wallpaper, different lots of brick or concrete may vary slightly in color; it may not be immediately noticeable but when you put them on the wall side by side, you can see the difference in colors, and it becomes an eyesore. The same thing exists in the brick industry,” President and Chief Executive Officer Russell Gray noted.

“Twenty-two years ago, Tony Watling joined the Nawkaw Team offering Nawkaw services in Australia and he has helped to grow the company into not only Australia, but also New Zealand and Tasmania. Nawkaw is now doing work in Singapore, China and other locations, so it’s really been a group effort and a little bit of happenstance,” said Gray.

Nawkaw Corporation solves color discrepancy problems in masonry and concrete. While the company first treated masonry only, it has since expanded its services to include coloring work on stone, precast and tilt-up concrete.

“We’re really proud of what we can do. The brick and concrete manufacturing process has limitations regarding what colors can be achieved using traditional methods. Nawkaw has the ability to achieve a much wider range of colors and finishes that are otherwise impossible,” said Gray.

New ideas at Nawkaw Corporation are driven by its customers’ requests, Gray noted. “We’re constantly trying to evolve and improve our products and application abilities. We are really innovative people, but a lot of our advances are a result of these requests. When we see something that’s really interesting we add it to our portfolio of color and finish options and then build on that too.”

Nawkaw Corporation has specialized chemists who are dedicated to developing new products with novel features. “We take pride in the fact that we’re able to stay abreast of the changes in the marketplace, and I think this is also going to be a big part of our future,” said Gray. This is especially true of the company’s commitment to environmentally friendly products including a photocatalytic coating that is self-cleaning and able to remove pollutants.

Manufacturers, general contractors, property managers, architects, homeowners and government departments like the Department of Transportation use Nawkaw Corporation for the range of colors, project experience, quality application and countless benefits its products offer.

Nawkaw Corporation’s products and services have a twenty-five-year warranty. Products are field and laboratory tested and offer durable, fade-resistant color and protection for both interior and exterior surfaces.

Customers gain maintenance-free beauty. Stains penetrate and bond to the substrate, whether it is brick, block, stone, stucco or concrete, and the substrate remains vapor permeable, permitting moisture to escape and preventing mold and mildew growth. Unlike paint, stain cannot peel or chip.

“We have an expansive line of products. It’s one of the many things that differentiates us from other staining companies. We have a water-based acrylic stain; a stain with integral water repellent; two kinds of mineral-based stains, one that is semi-transparent and one opaque; and those are just a few of our products.” Gray said.

Nawkaw’s acrylic stains were the company’s first product line, and have been used on more buildings than any other masonry stain. Those products undergo constant testing and improvements and continue to win awards for the company.

All NawTone products are environmentally friendly and are used for either color correction or total color change on various building materials. Those water-based products are easy to use and clean up, and can be applied with a brush, sponge, roller or sprayer.

Achieving precise color saturation without changing the natural textures of the material is possible as the stain is semi-transparent. It is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and non-toxic.

“Nawkaw Corporation recently added the mineral-based products to its repertoire,” Gray said. “NawTone-K and NawTone-K Opaque have zero VOCs and chemically bond to the substrates, so once they’ve been applied and they’ve cured, they become part of the concrete, which is really important.”

Nawkaw’s customers know that choosing the right provider for a project is just as important as choosing the right materials. In addition to the wide range of products, Nawkaw has a team of experienced applicators who boast impressive skill sets. “We have a very talented group of applicators, and we can match virtually every color and any appearance, and that’s a skill that takes years to learn,” said Gray.

Gray believes in the importance of the company culture. “We’re a people first culture, and that applies to both the employees and the customers,” he stated. “When you care about the people you work with, they feel it and then they care about the customers. A company is only as good as the people that work there,” said Gray.

He also named training as being essential. “It’s really at the heart of who we are, what we do and what we can do. We have a graduated scale of skill sets and encourage people to obtain higher skills.”

A unique element of training at Nawkaw Corporation is the company’s video library of completed projects that serves as a reference for challenging jobs. Applicators have resources to ensure that, regardless of a project’s complexities, the results meet or exceed the customers’ expectations.

“We’re frequently asked to do jobs that we’ve never done before, that nobody’s ever done before, and so we encourage our people, when they are out on a project, to take videos that show the challenges they face and how they overcame them,” explained Gray. The library has become an invaluable resource to the Nawkaw Corporation team.

Training focuses on both skill sets and safety. “Safety is paramount to us not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we care about our people,” Gray said.

Nawkaw Corporation is a member of several national associations including the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA), Green Building Council, National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and the American Institute of Architects. These associations help the company educate the industry about what is possible in masonry and concrete.

Gray hopes that as the products and talent that Nawkaw Corporation offers are better known, its solutions will help more home and building owners and property managers achieve the desired outcome of their masonry and concrete projects.

“We’re out there adding colors, and I can tell you, it’s a fun thing to do, making these changes and getting the wow factor, where people say, ‘I didn’t know this could be done. This looks fantastic. You really changed my building.’ Our people are proud of the work they do, and they enjoy doing it,” said Gray, whose passion for the business shines through as brightly as the colors Nawkaw Corporation offers.

Industry Changemakers

The construction industry has historically been slow to evolve, drawn to tradition over technology. As the industry is in a state of rapid innovation and advancement, organizations like the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) are working tirelessly to build strong member businesses that won’t fall behind.

June 18, 2019, 7:50 AM EDT