Turning an inside-out world right way around again
This is an excerpt from an article in Sanctuary magazine issue 17.
When it comes to thermal efficiency, reversing traditional brick veneer construction and putting the brick on the inside makes so much more sense. Dick Clarke explains why.
Words Dick Clarke
Reverse brick veneer (RBV) which, although self-explanatory when we think about it, has often caused people to do a double take: “Yes, that’s right, the bricks are on the inside of the wall… No, the plasterboard doesn’t get wet – it’s clad with… (whatever).”
In an RBV building, the brick layer is located within a protective external insulated skin. That skin can be made of pretty much anything that takes your fancy – but it must be well insulated to allow the thermal mass of the brick to do its job of regulating internal temperatures. (The brick layer can also be blocks, mud brick, rammed earth, or recycled concrete – so RBV is actually more correctly called Insulated Masonry Construction, but that name is nowhere near so well recognised or so much fun!)
We have to use the “reverse” in RBV because in the late 1950s somebody had the not-very-bright idea of replacing weatherboards and fibro on timber framed houses with a veneer of bricks (BV). “Brick veneerial disease” has since become the dominant building method in southern Australia, with people in the tropics generally avoiding its contagion. Many among us have come to assume that BV is normal brick, such that double-brick construction has come to be called “full brick”. This implies that brick veneer is “half brick”, perhaps “half as good”. This isn’t far off the money. It may save a coat of paint every 15 years or so, but costs a whole lot more than that.
If you’d like to read the rest of this article you can buy this issue here.