One of the best ways to put a cramp in your summertime fun is to hold off on fixing small issues and letting them grow into big problems. And with the summer months bringing heavy downpours and thunderstorms along with plenty of sunshine, those long-neglected gutters could mean a lack of defense against wet basements and crawlspaces.

Gutters and downspouts work in tandem to let rainwater drain from your roof and away from your home’s foundation. Without them, water can collect along the foundation, slowly building pressure until it eventually seeps inside the house. Any cracks in the foundation will become the source of those small puddles in your basement you walk through in your socks.

If you haven’t taken a look at your gutters in a while, you probably should, as the changing seasons bring debris like leaves, dirt and roof runoff. It takes little effort to climb a ladder, scoop that stuff out of there and give your gutters a quick rinse with your garden hose.

But over time your gutters will develop holes. Rust eats through steel gutters, and copper and aluminum gutters can be punctured by falling branches or sharp tools. You can repair these easily without investing too much money:

  • Purchase a tube of roofing cement and a metal repair patch at your local hardware store. Make sure the patch is several inches larger than the hole and is of the same material.
  • Clean all debris from the gutter with a putty knife or plastic gutter scoop. Put on your leather work gloves and scrub the area clean with a wire brush, cutting away any rusted parts with aviation snips.
  • Rest the patch over the hole and bend it to fit the gutter’s contours. Make sure the patch rests flat on the gutter’s surface with little to no space underneath it.
  • Apply the roofing cement liberally around the hole with a caulking gun and use a putty knife to spread the cement a few inches beyond the hole on all sides. Spread some on the underside of the patch as well.
  • Press the patch into place and hold it there, letting the cement harden a bit before taking your hand away.

Keeping your gutters clean and operating properly ensures your basement and crawlspaces will be dry and mold-free, and will maintain the value of your home in the long run. Not to mention will give you great peace of mind, letting you focus your attention on where it needs to be right now…tending to those burgers on the grill.