The Hidden Costs and Consequences of Saltwater Damage to Concrete: Why Dehumidification Isn't Enough

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May 18, 2022

The Extent of Saltwater Damage to Concrete

Saltwater damage to concrete is a global issue but is more prevalent in coastal regions, where the combination of saltwater spray and humidity exacerbates the problem. According to the American Concrete Institute, saltwater exposure is one of the primary environmental factors affecting the longevity and performance of concrete structures ("Effects of Substances on Concrete and Guide to Protective Treatments," ACI 201.2R-16).

Why Salt Water is Harmful

Salt water corrodes concrete by penetrating its porous surface, introducing chloride ions that initiate and accelerate the corrosion of the reinforcing steel within the concrete. Over time, this leads to cracks, spalling, and ultimately, structural failure.

Methods and Costs of Fixing Saltwater Damage

Patch Repairs

Cost: $5-$15 per square foot
This involves removing the damaged portion and applying a new layer of concrete. However, if the salt has penetrated deeply, this will be a temporary fix.

Electrochemical Chloride Extraction

Cost: $20-$40 per square foot
This process extracts chloride ions from the concrete, significantly delaying further corrosion.

Full Replacement

Cost: $100-$200 per square foot
This involves removing and replacing entire sections of damaged concrete and is generally the most expensive method.

Why Dehumidification Won't Work

While dehumidifiers can reduce the moisture content in the air, they do not solve the root cause of the problem: chloride ion penetration. The corrosive elements remain within the concrete, continuing to accelerate degradation over time. Therefore, while dehumidification can slow down the rate of corrosion, it is not a permanent fix.


Saltwater damage to concrete is a widespread issue that can have severe financial and structural repercussions. While dehumidification may seem like an easy solution, it fails to address the root cause of the problem. Various methods can be employed to repair the damage, but they come at varying costs and effectiveness.


  • "Effects of Substances on Concrete and Guide to Protective Treatments," ACI 201.2R-16, American Concrete Institute
  • "Chloride Threshold Levels for Corrosion in Concrete," A. Poursaee, Corrosion Science, Volume 50, Issue 4, 2008, Pages 1095-1100

We hope this blog post has shed light on the complexities surrounding saltwater damage to concrete and why more involved repair methods are often required for a lasting solution.

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