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Real Deal Countertops | 818 Central Ave Unit A, Summerville, SC 29483

866-707-1414 843-832-0819 sales1@realdealcountertops.com

Mon - Fri: 8:30AM - 5:00PM Sat: 8:30AM to 1PM

The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?

At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.

Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in Folly Beach, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.

At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:

Kitchen Countertop Installation Folly Beach, SC

Quartzite

 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Folly Beach, SC

Caesarstone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Silestone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Marble

 Kitchen Remodeling With Laminate Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Sensa

 Kitchen Remodeling With Marble Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Pollar White

 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartzite Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Vicostone

 Kitchen Remodeling With Stone Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Quartz

We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!

Most Popular Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.

Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:

Marble Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.

  • Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
  • Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
  • Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Kitchen Countertop Installation Folly Beach, SC
 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Folly Beach, SC

Granite Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.

  • Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
  • Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
  • Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.

Quartz Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).

  • Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
  • Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
  • Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
 Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Folly Beach, SC
 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartz Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Silestone Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.

  • Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
  • Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
  • Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver

Quartzite Countertops in Folly Beach, SC

Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.

  • Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
  • Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
  • Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
 Kitchen Remodeling With Laminate Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Which Countertop is Right for You?

If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.

 Kitchen Remodeling With Marble Countertops Folly Beach, SC

How Will You Use Your Countertops in Folly Beach?

The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.

  • Do you cook a lot?
  • Do you host a lot of parties?
  • How long will you be living in your home?
  • How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
 Kitchen Remodeling With Quartzite Countertops Folly Beach, SC

How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?

Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.

Keep these points in mind:
  • Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
  • Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
  • Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.

The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in Folly Beach, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?

You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:

  • Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
  • Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
  • Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
  • If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
  • Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.

Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?

For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.

Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
  • Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
  • Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
  • Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
  • Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
  • Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
 Kitchen Remodeling With Stone Countertops Folly Beach, SC
Kitchen Countertop Installation Folly Beach, SC

Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:

Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.

 Custom Countertops For Kitchen Remodeling Folly Beach, SC  Kitchen Remodeling With Granite Countertops Folly Beach, SC

Countertop Remodeling Done Right

At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Folly Beach, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.

The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in Folly Beach, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.

What Clients Say About Us

Ready to get started? Have questions about our inventory?

We're here to help answer all your questions. Please feel free to give our office a call today at 866-707-1414 Before you know it, you will be ready for your new set of Real Deal Countertops!

Contact Us

Latest News in Folly Beach, SC

My Charleston Weekend: Fall in love with autumn

It’s fall y’all! There’s plenty to do in the Lowcountry this weekend, and hopefully cooler temperatures are around the corner. Check out the BBQ sauce contest Firefly Distillery, get spooked at Boone Hall’s Fright Nights or mourn the end of summer at Mermaids and Mateys on Folly Beach.Getting saucyThe Arc of the Lowcountry will host the Getting Saucy BBQ sauce competition from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 24 at Firefly Distillery. Dozens of sauce makers will battle to earn the title of South Carolina BB Sauce ...

It’s fall y’all! There’s plenty to do in the Lowcountry this weekend, and hopefully cooler temperatures are around the corner. Check out the BBQ sauce contest Firefly Distillery, get spooked at Boone Hall’s Fright Nights or mourn the end of summer at Mermaids and Mateys on Folly Beach.

Getting saucy

The Arc of the Lowcountry will host the Getting Saucy BBQ sauce competition from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 24 at Firefly Distillery. Dozens of sauce makers will battle to earn the title of South Carolina BB Sauce Grand Champion.

In addition to plenty of barbecue, there will be live entertainment by Lauren Hall, Ben Fagan and The Holy City Hooligans, Chris Boone and more. There will also be food trucks, beer, wine, a cornhole competition and other fun activities.

Ticket prices are $40 in advance or $45 at the gate. Kids under 12 get in free. To purchase tickets or find more info, go to bit.ly/3UmGf6f.

Ahoy, mateys!

Celebrate all things mermaids and pirates this weekend at Folly Beach’s Mermaids and Mateys two-day inaugural event. The fun starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 with an Under the Sea dance at The Loft at St. James Gate. Dance along to songs spun by DJ Miketech, take pictures with the Folly Beach mermaid and enjoy light appetizers. Tickets cost $9 in advance or $14 at the door.

The fun continues at 10 a.m. Sept. 24 with the Salty Saturday Mermaids and Mateys Street Closure Event on Center Street. The street will be lined with vendors, food and art from the Folly Beach area, as well as a huge kids area featuring magicians, sand crafts, inflatables, glitter body art and more. Tickets are $9 in advance and $14 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit bit.ly/3SkhHZA.

Fright Night

Boone Hall’s Fright Nights returns Sept. 24 and runs on a limited schedule through Oct. 30. This year has three new attractions: Freaks World of Oddities, Sinister Cinema Haunted Hayride and The Lodge at Willow Ridge. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and attractions run until 11 p.m. There will also be vendors and entertainment between the events to keep you spooked all night long.

Due to the terrifying nature of Fright Nights, the event isn’t recommended for children under 12, and under 6 are not permitted. General admission to all three attractions is $35 and VIP passes are $60. Ticket can only be purchased online at boonehallfrightnights.com.

Shake, Rattle and Roll Over

Dorchester Paws is celebrating 50 years of serving the community with their Shake, Rattle and Roll Over Gala. The ’50s-themed event runs 6-10 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Dorchester Shrine Club. Proceeds from the event benefit the thousands of animals that Dorchester Paws takes in each year.

Regular tickets are $100 and VIP tickets are $125. All tickets include complimentary beer and wine, ’50s-style diner food and lots of fun. Purchase a ticket at bit.ly/3BVjz5V.

Oktoberfest

Two Blokes Brewing will host Oktoberfest from 4-9 p.m. Sept. 23. Enjoy food from Krystyna’s Authentic Polish food truck, traditional folk dance tunes and the release of Two Bloke’s new German style lager.

Music will be performed by The Hans Schmidt German band, a six-piece, lederhosen-clad ensemble that plays authentic and imitation folk dance music, including German polkas and waltzes.

So wear your dancing shoes and get ready for German-themed excitement all evening long. This is a free event, but you can get more info at bit.ly/3Lx45by.

Nearshore placement project at Folly Beach proves to be successful, another in the works

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — The Army Corps of Engineers is working to replenish Folly Beach by using what is called a "nearshore placement" project.&...

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — The Army Corps of Engineers is working to replenish Folly Beach by using what is called a "nearshore placement" project.

"You would literally walk off the steps and the water would be underneath the steps. There's no beach at high tide at all, like down by the washout," says Folly Beach visitor Amy Heaton.

Beach replenishment projects are crucial in protecting beaches and buildings on Folly.

"This will help protect the infrastructure of the homes, the businesses behind the beach, as a protective structural measure," says Wes Wilson, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston.

One of the ways to replenish beaches is through a project that has worked before.

"The nearshore placement project is a really innovative approach that the Army Corps is taking to utilize sediment that is being dredged for navigation purposes and to keep the boating channels clear, and then take that sand and help to feed the beaches in a different way than traditional beach nourishment," says Nicole Elko, president of Elko Coastal Consulting.

The last nearshore placement project took place in 2021. The Army Corps of Engineers and City of Folly Beach dredged up 50,000 cubic yards of sand from the Folly River, took it to the northeast end of the beach and dumped it about 200 to 300 yards offshore.

It proved to be successful thanks to the tracer monitoring contract and some colorful markers.

"The contractor used orange and pink dye in some of their sand loads and disposed of it. They sampled it and determined where on the beach those particular deposits landed," says Wilson.

These placement projects come with a lot of benefits.

"It is known to be a lot more environmentally friendly, too. That's one of the things we look for. The three "E's" is engineering, economics and environmental. The economics- that's cheaper; environmentally more friendly; and the engineering is constructible," says Wilson.

Another project is already being designed due to the success of the first. It is projected to wrap up by late spring of 2023.

These projects are federally funded.

Folly Beach City Council passes ordinance amending short term rentals policies

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) — Tuesday night, Folly Beach City Council passed an ordinance amending the Folly Beach Short Term Rentals policies with a vote of 6-1.Eddie Ellis was the only city council member to vote no.The ordinance means the city will continue to require renters to get a business license and a rental registration permit. Because the ordinance passed, there will now be a fee for rental registration.The amount would vary. A fee per $1,000 of income was presented last night.The city estimates shor...

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) — Tuesday night, Folly Beach City Council passed an ordinance amending the Folly Beach Short Term Rentals policies with a vote of 6-1.

Eddie Ellis was the only city council member to vote no.

The ordinance means the city will continue to require renters to get a business license and a rental registration permit. Because the ordinance passed, there will now be a fee for rental registration.

The amount would vary. A fee per $1,000 of income was presented last night.

The city estimates short term rentals end up costing the city about $1 million in public services and infrastructure, so they are trying to recover some of that cost with the new fee. Money is slated to also go towards hiring staff whose only job is managing short term rental licenses and violations.

As for revoking a license, the proposed ordinance suggested changing the current four strikes over a six-month period to three strikes over the course of a year.

“The strikes are only issued after conviction, so not on ticket or warning. But only if a ticket is written and the person is actually found guilty, then we'll issue a strike. So it's fewer strikes over a longer period, but a higher bar for the strike to be issued," City of Folly Beach Administrator Aaron Pope said.

The city will now require more information about the property, like parking plans. Events at rental properties will now have a limit of 25 people instead of the previous number of 49 people.

Paid parking- another problem that’s plagued Lowcountry beaches all summer- was also discussed during the meeting.

The city of Folly Beach submitted revisions to their parking plan to SCDOT in August 2020. That plan was just returned to the city last month.

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, Director of Public Works Eric Lutz presented the revised pay parking expansion plan. The new plan makes those changes laid out by SCDOT.

Pope said Folly Beach is proud that most of their parking is free, but they are asking to increase the amount of paid parking they have to roughly 33 percent of the front beach parking only.

"That's what paid parking is about. It's not about restricting access or discouraging people from coming. It's about finding ways to balance the costs of providing services," Pope said.

City council will share the plan with the public next. Once the city has received public comment, they will submit the proposed plan and public comments to SCDOT for their final approval.

Only after they approve it, can the city implement it.

How to Save S.C.’s Precious Beaches From Hurricanes

In 2018, Folly Beach along with a 26-mile stretch underwent emergency beach renourishment to restore sand lost from Hurricanes. The damage was so bad that the Army Core of Engineers paid for the entire cost of renourishment.(TNS) - The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Cherry Grove Pier in half.That was just two years ag...

In 2018, Folly Beach along with a 26-mile stretch underwent emergency beach renourishment to restore sand lost from Hurricanes. The damage was so bad that the Army Core of Engineers paid for the entire cost of renourishment.

(TNS) - The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Cherry Grove Pier in half.

That was just two years ago.

Repairs after Hurricane Isaias, which was “only” a Category 1 storm, cost millions of dollars. It wasn’t a hurricane that required major evacuations, but it was a sign of how a single storm, even one that isn’t a Hugo or a Katrina, can do massive damage to one of South Carolina’s most precious resources — the beach.

Protecting beaches is a crucial task for federal, state and local officials. Without the sand that defines the Grand Strand, Charleston’s barrier islands or Hilton Head, the state could lose billions of dollars in tourism. Anyone who grew up in South Carolina during the 1970s and 1980s can share how the near-total erosion of Folly Beach devastated that town’s economy and made it a place to avoid.

“The beaches are a very, very valuable resource for the state of South Carolina, for the country, but they’re under very significant and increasing pressures,” said Paul Gayes, executive director of Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Marine & Wetland Studies. “That’s a significant management challenge, and now the question is how long can we can we manage it as we have?”

In 2018, Folly Beach along with a 26-mile stretch of the Grand Strand underwent emergency beach renourishment to restore sand lost from Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Florence. The damage was so bad that the Army Core of Engineers paid for the entire cost of renourishment. Normally, the federal entity would pay for just 65% of renourishment in the Grand Strand and 85% in Folly Beach. The remaining cost would be passed off to state and local governments.

Sand dunes themselves are important ecological habitats for grasses and other forms of coastal wildlife, but humans have a more selfish reason for maintaining them.

Dunes protect the buildings and infrastructure that sit behind them, particularly by breaking up storm surges, Army Core of Engineers project manager Wes Wilson said.

As storms come in, they bring in particularly strong waves that sometimes have enough force to topple building, wash away cars and toss boats from marinas onto highways.

Sand dunes, for their part, take the first brunt of that force, Gayes said. The strength of the impact of the storm surge depends largely on how fast the waves are moving. If a dune can slow down a powerful wave by even a couple seconds, that can exponentially decrease the water’s force when it makes impact on whatever lies beyond.

“It takes a long time for a dune to recover,” he said. “It may take weeks and months, even years to build a strong, healthy dune system, but a storm can come in and remove that dune in six hours.”

The dunes are strong, but brittle. They sometimes can’t survive more than one major hit.

“If another storm comes in before it’s recovered, it’s not there to do the protective services that was there before,” Gayes said.

Protecting sand dunes and the beaches in front of them is a circular endeavor. Tropical weather and general erosion over time wash away the sand, and governments have to spend millions of dollars to put the sand back, repeatedly. The task sounds futile, but Wilson says it’s worth it.

“After a hurricane has hit, the beaches that have been renourished and have sufficient protection measures such as dunes in place, fare far better than those that have not,” Wilson said.

The process to actually put sand back can be an irritating one for homeowners and visitors unlucky enough to be at the beach when renourishment is happening.

“We always say it’s a short-term inconvenience for a long-term benefit,” Wilson said. “As the contractor’s working in front of your house for a day or two, they can be kind of loud and kind of noisy. But as soon as they move on, within a day or two, you’ve got a brand new beach in front of your home and reduce the risk of damages not only your home, but the structures behind your home.”

There are a lot of reasons beaches erode. The most constant one is a sort of “river of sand” that is perpetually moving from north to south along the East Coast.

This movement causes some beaches to erode and others to grow, though as the sea level rises, the sand frequently disappears into the depths of the ocean, rather than flowing south to, say, Pawleys Island, Hilton Head or Florida.

“Over the long term, we are always losing sediment,” Gayes said. “That’s why we do renourishment, which is putting sand ‘back in the budget’ by artificial means.”

The more noticeable reason for beach erosion tends to be storms, experts say.

Isaias, for example, was particularly notable because of the damage its storm surges did to the low-lying sand dunes of North Myrtle Beach.

The storm surge’s strength came from both the power of the Category 1 hurricane itself but also the fact that it made landfall during the so-called “King Tides.” These appear several times a year and are known as the highest tides seen in the Grand Strand. When the King Tides reach North Myrtle Beach, particularly the Cherry Grove neighborhood, many roads flood, even without any rainfall or tropical weather.

The wind and storm surges that come with tropical storms and hurricanes break up the sand on the beaches and drag it back into the ocean, Gayes said.

Frequently, the sand will return on its own, but hurricanes can interrupt that process.

“It can move off shore enough that it won’t come back,” Gayes said.

This happened notably from 2016 to 2018, when a series of hurricanes — Matthew, Irma and Florence — tore up South Carolina’s beaches.

Their devastation was amplified by the fact that the hurricanes, particularly Matthew and Florence, were preceded by other tropical weather in the weeks leading up to them. That one-two punch left the beaches with no time to recover between storms.

“It’s not always a given storm that comes in that is the particular problem. It’s what’s happened a week or two weeks or 10 days before some of the big flooding events,” Gayes said. “If you’ve had a storm come in and kind of made the beach go away by moving material out of the upper beach and then the next storm comes in — it’s disproportionately more impactful.”

As a result, the Army Core of Engineers spent $60 million on an emergency beach renourishment spanning 26 miles of the Grand Strand and all of Folly Beach . Other parts of the state also had to do emergency renourishments, but the funding came from other sources, such as local accommodations taxes.

That renourishment required 3 million cubic yards of sand — the equivalent of 300,000 dump trucks — to be pumped from deep in the ocean onto the Grand Strand’s beaches alone.

Even a few years later, without any major storms, there is already some visible sand loss, Gayes noted. Garden City in particular, being on the edge of the renourishment project, has several blocks with at-risk structures as the ocean creeps in.

Not all storms do as much damage as Isaias, Florence, Irma and Matthew. A host of factors, from the speed at which a storm makes landfall, whether it’s a direct hit, the strength of the storm and even the direction it makes contact can all influence how badly the beaches are affected, said Victoria Oliva, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office.

“The storm surge is tied to the strength of the storm. The stronger the storm, the stronger the winds and the greater the surge,” Oliva said. “The greatest threat as far as surf goes is the stronger storms that are coming head on and pretty much coming head on for quite a while.”

©2022 The State. Visit thestate.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Hurricanes threaten SC’s precious beaches. What can save them before the next big storm hits?

The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Sea Cabin Pier in Cherry Grove in half.That was just two years ago.Repairs after Hurricane Isaias, which was “only” a Category 1 storm, cost millions of dollars. It wasn’t a hurricane that required major evacuations, but it was a sign of how a single storm, even one that isn’t ...

The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Sea Cabin Pier in Cherry Grove in half.

That was just two years ago.

Repairs after Hurricane Isaias, which was “only” a Category 1 storm, cost millions of dollars. It wasn’t a hurricane that required major evacuations, but it was a sign of how a single storm, even one that isn’t a Hugo or a Katrina, can do massive damage to one of South Carolina’s most precious resources — the beach.

Protecting beaches is a crucial task for federal, state and local officials. Without the sand that defines the Grand Strand, Charleston’s barrier islands or Hilton Head, the state could lose billions of dollars in tourism. Anyone who grew up in South Carolina during the 1970s and 1980s can share how the near-total erosion of Folly Beach devastated that town’s economy and made it a place to avoid.

“The beaches are a very, very valuable resource for the state of South Carolina, for the country, but they’re under very significant and increasing pressures,” said Paul Gayes, executive director of Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Marine & Wetland Studies. “That’s a significant management challenge, and now the question is how long can we can we manage it as we have?”

In 2018, Folly Beach along with a 26-mile stretch of the Grand Strand underwent emergency beach renourishment to restore sand lost from Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Florence. The damage was so bad that the Army Corps of Engineers paid for the entire cost of renourishment. Normally, the federal entity would pay for just 65% of renourishment in the Grand Strand and 85% in Folly Beach. The remaining cost would be passed off to state and local governments.

Sand dunes themselves are important ecological habitats for grasses and other forms of coastal wildlife, but humans have a more selfish reason for maintaining them.

Dunes protect the buildings and infrastructure that sit behind them, particularly by breaking up storm surges, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Wes Wilson said.

As storms come in, they bring in particularly strong waves that sometimes have enough force to topple building, wash away cars and toss boats from marinas onto highways.

Sand dunes, for their part, take the first brunt of that force, Gayes said. The strength of the impact of the storm surge depends largely on how fast the waves are moving. If a dune can slow down a powerful wave by even a couple seconds, that can exponentially decrease the water’s force when it makes impact on whatever lies beyond.

“It takes a long time for a dune to recover,” he said. “It may take weeks and months, even years to build a strong, healthy dune system, but a storm can come in and remove that dune in six hours.”

The dunes are strong, but brittle. They sometimes can’t survive more than one major hit.

“If another storm comes in before it’s recovered, it’s not there to do the protective services that was there before,” Gayes said.

Protecting sand dunes and the beaches in front of them is a circular endeavor. Tropical weather and general erosion over time wash away the sand, and governments have to spend millions of dollars to put the sand back, repeatedly. The task sounds futile, but Wilson says it’s worth it.

“After a hurricane has hit, the beaches that have been renourished and have sufficient protection measures such as dunes in place, fare far better than those that have not,” Wilson said.

The process to actually put sand back can be an irritating one for homeowners and visitors unlucky enough to be at the beach when renourishment is happening.

“We always say it’s a short-term inconvenience for a long-term benefit,” Wilson said. “As the contractor’s working in front of your house for a day or two, they can be kind of loud and kind of noisy. But as soon as they move on, within a day or two, you’ve got a brand new beach in front of your home and reduce the risk of damages not only your home, but the structures behind your home.”

There are a lot of reasons beaches erode. The most constant one is a sort of “river of sand” that is perpetually moving from north to south along the East Coast.

This movement causes some beaches to erode and others to grow, though as the sea level rises, the sand frequently disappears into the depths of the ocean, rather than flowing south to, say, Pawleys Island, Hilton Head or Florida.

“Over the long term, we are always losing sediment,” Gayes said. “That’s why we do renourishment, which is putting sand ‘back in the budget’ by artificial means.”

The more noticeable reason for beach erosion tends to be storms, experts say.

Isaias, for example, was particularly notable because of the damage its storm surges did to the low-lying sand dunes of North Myrtle Beach.

The storm surge’s strength came from both the power of the Category 1 hurricane itself but also the fact that it made landfall during the so-called “King Tides.” These appear several times a year and are known as the highest tides seen in the Grand Strand. When the King Tides reach North Myrtle Beach, particularly the Cherry Grove neighborhood, many roads flood, even without any rainfall or tropical weather.

The wind and storm surges that come with tropical storms and hurricanes break up the sand on the beaches and drag it back into the ocean, Gayes said.

Frequently, the sand will return on its own, but hurricanes can interrupt that process.

“It can move off shore enough that it won’t come back,” Gayes said.

This happened notably from 2016 to 2018, when a series of hurricanes — Matthew, Irma and Florence — tore up South Carolina’s beaches.

Their devastation was amplified by the fact that the hurricanes, particularly Matthew and Florence, were preceded by other tropical weather in the weeks leading up to them. That one-two punch left the beaches with no time to recover between storms.

“It’s not always a given storm that comes in that is the particular problem. It’s what’s happened a week or two weeks or 10 days before some of the big flooding events,” Gayes said. “If you’ve had a storm come in and kind of made the beach go away by moving material out of the upper beach and then the next storm comes in — it’s disproportionately more impactful.”

As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers spent $60 million on an emergency beach renourishment spanning 26 miles of the Grand Strand and all of Folly Beach. Other parts of the state also had to do emergency renourishments, but the funding came from other sources, such as local accommodations taxes.

That renourishment required 3 million cubic yards of sand — the equivalent of 300,000 dump trucks — to be pumped from deep in the ocean onto the Grand Strand’s beaches alone.

Even a few years later, without any major storms, there is already some visible sand loss, Gayes noted. Garden City in particular, being on the edge of the renourishment project, has several blocks with at-risk structures as the ocean creeps in.

Not all storms do as much damage as Isaias, Florence, Irma and Matthew. A host of factors, from the speed at which a storm makes landfall, whether it’s a direct hit, the strength of the storm and even the direction it makes contact can all influence how badly the beaches are affected, said Victoria Oliva, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office.

“The storm surge is tied to the strength of the storm. The stronger the storm, the stronger the winds and the greater the surge,” Oliva said. “The greatest threat as far as surf goes is the stronger storms that are coming head on and pretty much coming head on for quite a while.”

This story was originally published September 6, 2022 5:00 AM.

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