A concrete–steel interface spectral element is developed to study the guided wave propagation along the steel rebar in the concrete. Scalar damage parameters characterizing changes in the interface (debonding damage) are incorporated into the formulation of the spectral finite element that is used for damage detection of reinforced concrete structures. Experimental tests are carried out on a reinforced concrete beam with embedded piezoelectric elements to verify the performance of the proposed model and algorithm. Parametric studies are performed to evaluate the effect of different damage scenarios on wave propagation in the reinforced concrete structures. Numerical simulations and experimental results show that the method is effective to model wave propagation along the steel rebar in concrete and promising to detect damage in the concrete–steel interface.