A&R Roofing is moving onto a new set of roofs. After some 17 years in the residential roofing business, the locally owned company is expanding its services to include commercial roofs as well.

With residential roofing well established, A&R was looking for other areas to grow. With their background in roofing, commercial roofing was an obvious direction to take.

It became part of the A&R business plan to develop commercial roofing for businesses in small and large. A lot of buildings need to work in those towns.

"It's a need driven business and there's lots of people looking for some commercial work to be done," Goepfert said. "We do a lot of work in small town America."

Workers had to add new skills to tackle low slope roofs and metal roofs as opposed to the asphalt shingles and high-sloped roofs.

"Commercial takes a different skill set than residential," said Gabe Goepfert, A&R manager of commercial division.

Over a year, A&R crews have learned enough about commercial business roofing that they make it a full company division with crews dedicated to commercial roofing.

The company crews that were already employed learned the commercial roofing so no new crew members had to be hired, Goepfert said.

Managing partners Aaron Walker and Barron Jones have learned the commercial side and are ready to handle this new side to the business.

A recent example of a local commercial job was the roof for the Vernon W. Filley Art Museum at Fifth and Jackson in Pratt.

The structure is now under construction and the roofing materials required some special attention.

The interior of the roof was sprayed with foam insulation. This type of foam is very efficient and maintains heat very well.

Originally, asphalt shingles were going to be used on the roof and they also hold heat very well. This meant that the heat on the roof had no efficient way of dissipating and would have cooked the shingles and that was a major issue, Goepfert said.

"You needed a place to dissipate the heat." Goepfert said.

To solve the problem, concrete tile that could handle the heat was used. The concrete tile was also a good match with the exterior stone on the building walls.

Roofing is not just a matter of putting material on a roof. It has to function with the whole building.

When A&R commit to a roofing project they also have a long-term maintenance program as well. Putting the correct materials on a roof, like the Filley Museum, means a better product for the customer and less maintenance issues for A&R.

A&R Roofing has offices in Pratt, Wichita and Hastings, Neb. They service all of Kansas and Nebraska and are listed in the top 100 roofers in the United States by volume. They are in the 60s range, Goepfert said.

During summer months when storms can damage many roofs in one area, they can have offices in six locations operating at the same time. Sales staff and roofing crews live in various locations so they can have a good response time.

Some customers have used A&R multiple times and know what they bring to the table. They know A&R makes the right decisions and can take care of any issues, Goepfert said.

The Walker family started the business 20 years ago in 1997 as Walker roofing. It remains a local and family owned business.