Hot Mix vs. Cold Mix Asphalt for Pothole Repairs

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Uncategorized

Newly formed potholes on roads and highways can make repair crews feel like they’re playing a real-life game of whack-a-mole. Just when you patch one, two more seemingly pop up overnight. 

In many regions of the country, pothole repairs cost millions of dollars annually. Making the right choice between hot and cold mix asphalt is essential to ensuring long-lasting repairs and reducing the economic burden for transportation agencies.

Read on to learn more about hot mix vs. cold mix asphalt and which solution is superior.

Cold Mix Asphalt

Despite its name, cold mix isn’t actually cold. While temperature ranges can vary between brands and mixes, they usually hover between 50°F to 100°F. 

Due to fluctuating temperatures and cold weather conditions that make patch jobs very temporary, wintertime is not ideal for fixing potholes. However, repairs must still be made to ensure traffic safety and road integrity.

Cold mix asphalt works best when the temperature goes below 40°F. However, it still has a very short life expectancy and should only be used for temporary repairs until the weather warms up. 

Proper patching techniques are required to ensure cold mix patches last as long as possible. Otherwise, the patch job will fail and result in wasted time and money. Studies estimate that 60% to 80% of the total patching cost is due to materials and labor.

Cold Mix Patching Procedure

Performing cold mix patching repairs is relatively straightforward. Workers use air compressors or brooms to clean out dirt, water, and debris. Once cleaned, the crew shovels cold mix into the hole.  

Compaction methods can include using a compactor, shovel, or rolling a truck’s wheel over the cold patch spot. Sometimes, workers won’t compact the area—this is often the case when the repair is only meant to last for a very short period of time.

A good wintertime cold mix plus excellent craftsmanship and compaction levels will create a semi-permanent repair job that should last until the weather warms up.

Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot mix asphalt is superior to cold mix and works best when outside temperatures are above 40°F. Although it initially costs more than cold patching due to materials, equipment, and labor, the savings add up in the long run. 

While each manufacturer has a slightly different formulation, most hot mix is made out of a combination of gravel, sand, and asphalt cement aggregate. The hot mix needs to be heated to over 400 degrees before workers can apply it to the pothole.

The combination of high-quality hot mix asphalt and great workmanship will result in a permanent patch that will prevent crews from returning to the same pothole a few months down the proverbial road—thereby saving a tremendous amount of money and time.

Hot Mix Patching Procedure 

Once the hot mix has been sufficiently heated, workers apply it to the pothole. They then use a heavy compactor or steam roller to flush the patch with the rest of the surrounding asphalt.

A Falcon worker spreads hot mix asphalt over a pothole.

Considering how labor and materials make up such a large portion of the total cost of an asphalt repair job, many municipalities and contractors are turning to hot boxes and asphalt recyclers to decrease costs and significantly improve productivity.

Falcon Hot Boxes & Recyclers

A Falcon hot box and recycler will save tremendous time and money while solving several problems associated with pothole repairs. Hot boxes keep the hot mix material at the optimal temperature throughout the day. 

Work crews will only have to make one trip to the asphalt plant versus several if they use a truck bed to store the material. If it’s a multi-day patch job, the hot box can keep material warm overnight (for up to 72 hours), so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning.

Due to the lowered shoveling height of a Falcon hot box, workers won’t strain their arms, legs, or backs like they would shoveling material from the back of a dump truck. The ergonomics directly translates into increased productivity and fewer worker’s comp claims.

Finally, if you opt for the optional dual-burner system, you can recycle leftover asphalt chunks and millings. Falcon asphalt recyclers are engineered to preserve the original oils, which ensures soft and usable asphalt.

Falcon Hot Box and Recyclers

A Falcon hotbox is ideal for making hot mix asphalt repairs. You’ll save time and money while increasing worker efficiency. We offer a wide range of hot box machines that will meet or exceed the needs of your patching operation. Contact us below.

Asphalt patching is essential in maintaining roadways, parking lots, and other paved surfaces. Patch trucks are the de facto workhorse used by many municipalities and patching operations thanks to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

The downside to traditional asphalt patching trucks is that they require a CDL license to operate. Hiring CDL workers is difficult because there are few out there, and if you do find one, you’ll need to pay them a higher salary.

Non-CDL asphalt patch trucks are the answer to this costly problem. Non-CDL patch trucks look and operate the same as traditional ones. However, they weigh less than 26,000 pounds, which is the cutoff for requiring a CDL license.

Read on to learn more about Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks, their features, and the benefits they will add to your patching operation.

CDL Requirements

Part of the reason why CDL drivers are so expensive to hire and somewhat challenging to find is that it’s not easy to become one. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Safety Act of 1986 sets forth the requirements for obtaining a CDL license.

All applicants must first apply for and receive a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This enables them to legally drive a commercial motor vehicle while being supervised by an instructor.

To apply for a CDL, applicants must:

  • Have a valid non-commercial driver’s license
  • Be at least 21 years old (if transporting hazardous materials or driving across state lines)
  • Have proof of citizenship and residency
  • Pass all background checks
  • Pass an intensive medical examination
  • Provide a statement that certifies they’re not subject to disqualification as per FMCSA 383.51
  • Pass a state-approved written test and road test

Competition to hire CDL drivers is relatively intense and often results in very high salary and benefits packages. Many municipalities and smaller patching operations often cannot afford to offer competitive salaries and benefits commensurate with what large corporations will pay.

How Non-CDL Asphalt Patching Trucks Work

The FMCSA requires all trucks that weigh 26,001 lbs or more to have a driver with a CDL license. Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks weigh under 26,000 lbs—meaning anyone with a valid standard driver’s license can operate them.

How is that possible?

For starters, a Falcon non-CDL patch truck does not utilize an auger or conveyor belt like a traditional one. Instead, Falcon uses a gravity dump to deliver the material to the patch site.

Augers, conveyors, and the hydraulics used to run them are extremely heavy. The lack of those parts allows the Falcon patch truck to weigh less than 26,000 lbs.

Benefits of a Falcon Non-CDL Asphalt Patch Truck

In addition to not requiring a CDL license, Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have a user-friendly design that offers several other benefits, such as:

Faster material delivery

Traditional patch trucks that utilize an auger and conveyor belt are limited in the quantity of material and speed they can deliver it due to their significantly smaller unloading opening. This can substantially slow down worker productivity and cause each patch job to take longer.

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have the largest delivery doors on the market. This means workers have the flexibility to determine how much material they want and at what speeds they will get it. Those same large doors also allow for easier access to the hopper for cleaning.

Lowered lifetime cost

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks are more cost-effective than their counterparts, thanks to the lack of hydraulics, augers, and conveyor belts. Fewer components mean fewer things that can break down in the future.

Another significant cost saver is that you won’t have to hire an expensive driver with a CDL license. If that driver should suddenly resign or call in sick, you’d be scrambling to find someone qualified to drive a CDL truck.

More fuel efficient

Because Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks do not have hydraulic motors or pumps to turn an auger, they also burn less fuel. That adds up to significant cost savings over an 8-hour shift. 

Fewer trips to the asphalt plant

Workers also have the option to hold material overnight, which allows them to start working immediately the next day instead of waiting in line at the asphalt plant—which might be located on the other side of town—in rush hour traffic. 

Fewer moving parts

Due to not having an auger, hydraulic pump, or conveyor belt, Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have fewer parts than their traditional counterparts. This directly translates into increased uptime availability and lower maintenance and operating costs over the truck’s lifetime.

Sufficient capacity

Non-CDL asphalt patch trucks from Falcon have an 8,000 lb carrying capacity—which is more than enough material to be held at the optimum temperature.  


One of the most significant benefits of the Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch truck is that it uses the same guts, hopper, and tack tank as their other highly popular and durable hotboxes, trailers, and recyclers. 

Your choice of truck

The Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch truck requires a class 6 truck. You can supply your own truck or choose from one of seven different models that we’ll provide:

  • Ford F750
  • Freightliner MD6 106
  • Hino 268A
  • International MV
  • Kenworth T270
  • Mack MD6
  • Peterbilt 536/7

The size, brand, options, etc. of the truck we supply will determine the final cost. If you have a different brand truck than listed above, call us and we’ll help you figure out if we can make it work. We’re more than happy to consider alternative truck options.

Non-CDL Asphalt Patch Truck Required Maintenance

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks require very little maintenance compared to their traditional counterparts. However, basic maintenance requirements are the same as other patchers, including burner and battery maintenance, keeping the hopper clean, and truck upkeep.


Falcon Non-CDL Asphalt Patching Trucks

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patching trucks will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. They’ll increase productivity and efficiency while reducing the need for expensive maintenance and operators. Click below to learn more.


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