Top 7 Tools You Need For Successful Asphalt Patching

Have you ever started an asphalt project only to realize you need a critical tool? If so, then you know firsthand how frustrating it can be to have a job stall due to missing equipment.  

Whether it’s a neighbor pleading for help filling a pothole or a commercial client needing a parking lot repaved, successful asphalt work demands having the proper tools. Taking on patching or paving jobs without essential machinery can result in a poor outcome, wasted resources, and lost time or money.  

This article delves into the top seven tools you should have in your arsenal to ensure your asphalt endeavors go smoothly from start to finish. Having these core implements will allow you to tackle both small patch jobs and large resurfacing projects like a professional. 

1. Rental Compactor   

For large commercial projects, it’s essential to rent a compactor. A heavy-duty compactor is needed to tightly pack fresh asphalt and ensure it bonds strongly to the existing pavement. This provides a smooth, long-lasting finish.  

Many equipment rental companies have reliable compactors available. Vibratory plate compactors come in gas and electric models in various sizes to compact areas from small driveways to extra-large job sites.  

For instance, if you reside in Tacoma, you must look for asphalt patching Tacoma compactor companies that offer specialized equipment. The rental company’s experts can help determine the right compactor for any size project. Renting from an established equipment provider also provides product knowledge and support if questions arise during compaction.  

2. Shovel 

While simple, the shovel is one of the most important tools for any asphalt work. It serves multipurpose functions, from mixing new asphalt batches to placing and leveling the material. For these tasks, you’ll want a heavy-duty shovel made of high-carbon steel. Opt for a shovel with a wide, slightly rounded blade ranging from 14 to 16 inches in size. 

Look for a long-handled D-grip design that allows you to work safely with good leverage and back support. The handle should be steel or an extra durable composite to withstand lengthy use.  

Pay attention to details like thickness and welding joints, which will influence the shovel’s durability. A sharp, smooth blade edges more easily through asphalt without crumbling or sticking. 

Additionally, consider handles coated in non-slip rubber over-molding for a secure, comfortable grip even with asphalt on your hands. While some contractors prefer the lightweight and rust-resistance of fiberglass shovels, the scraping and mixing power of steel generally outweighs these benefits for asphalt tasks.  

Furthermore, always keep extra shovels available, as the fiber-reinforced asphalt mix is difficult to clean completely once it starts accumulating on tools. Having replacements on hand helps ensure your primary shovel is not overloaded during paving projects. 

3. Rakes 

There are two primary types of rakes used for asphalt work: bow rakes and tamper rakes. Bow rakes feature a curved steel body with flexible tines of varying lengths, allowing them to make broad, sweeping strokes. This helps to roughly level and shape fresh asphalt.  

Opt for a lightweight bow rake, as the sweeping motions can become tiring during large resurfacing projects. Tamper rakes, sometimes called scratch rakes, are more specialized tools. They have a small head containing numerous closely spaced, flexible steel tines.  

Therefore, this makes them ideal for finely leveling asphalt surfaces and removing tracks or bumps left by screeds, compactors, or other equipment. The times gently yet thoroughly scratch over the surface. 

4. Two-Man Screed 

For larger patching jobs and resurfacing medium to large areas, a two-person operated screed is essential to achieving a perfectly smooth, level surface. Screeds function as floating boards or plates that serve as a guide for leveling freshly compacted asphalt. 

Manual two-person screeds are ideal for driveways, small commercial lots, and other projects where power isn’t required. They are designed to be manipulated by two workers, one at each end, who work in unison to drag the screed back and forth over wet asphalt.  

The screed should be made of an incredibly flat, rigid material like metal or composite with handles at each end. 

 5. Strike-Off Bar 

Used to initially level fresh asphalt before final smoothing with a screed or rakes, the strike-off bar is a simple yet important tool. It functions by being pulled across freshly placed asphalt to create an even surface plane or slope. 

Strike-off bars are typically rectangular metal bars ranging from 6 to 10 inches wide. Wider bars are best for larger resurfacing areas, while narrower ones work well for thinner layers or pavement patching. The bar should be made of heavy-duty aluminum or steel with a perfectly flat and true surface. 

Pay close attention to ergonomics, as using a strike-off bar requires making numerous passes over material. Look for an extended handle, typically 3 to 4 feet long, to allow sweeping without hunching your back. In some models, the handle can adjust up and down to set the ideal leveling elevation. 

 6. Hand Trowel 

To obtain a polished, seamless finish, no tool beats the hand trowel. Experts use these tools to form reveals along curbs and sealant joints, as well as shape and uniform the edges of patches. 

Look for a trowel of rugged high-carbon steel that can withstand heat without warping. The blade should be slightly rounded rather than perfectly flat, with a width typically 6-10 inches across. A rounded profile allows easier gliding strokes compared to sharper edges. 

7. Testing Tools 

Ensure your work meets compaction and surface temperature standards with simple testing tools. An asphalt tamp or flat-faced hammer tests density, while an infrared thermometer gun reads surface temps.  

Slump and penetration tests check proper mix performance. An asphalt density gauge provides scientific density readings. Keeping patches to specifications leads to lasting repairs. 


With the right equipment, such as compactors, rakes, screeds, and finishing tools, you’ll be ready to tackle all types of asphalt patching and resurfacing jobs like a professional. Proper tools maximize quality and efficiency on the worksite. Consider renting heavy equipment as needed from an experienced local paving supplier for successful commercial projects.

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