Episode 580: A Lot of Work

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Home Improvement

When the zombies are outside, banging at your door to get in, you’ve only got one thing you need to worry about: stopping that. Generally, this is done in a phased approach. The first phase is simple: close and lock every door and window. Maybe close the curtains too; it couldn’t hurt. After that, it’s time to reinforce things a bit, but quickly. Grab every piece of heavy furniture you can, and pile it up in front of every point of ingress. Next, you’ll be looking for a more permanent solution. It’s time to break out the hammer and nails, and start nailing up some boards.

What’s interesting is that most zombie fiction doesn’t really address where all that hardware comes from. Many homeowners have basic tools, and maybe a bit of leftover lumber and hardware from various projects. Smart people might even have pre-cut wood and screws ready to go. But for a pretty sizable chunk of people, finding a hammer is a challenge, let alone anything to use it on. What do those people do when they want to keep zombies from getting inside?

About this Episode:

While Clark is a bit of a putz, and definitely insensitive, I also designed him to be survivalist. It’s nice to be able to tap into that original design a bit with this arc.

Discussion Question: Buttress Up!

The zombies are at your door, they know you’re inside, and they’re hungry. What do you have on hand (assume that you’re at home for this discussion question) to secure your house and make sure you don’t turn into a meal?

I’ll play along on this one. I actually have quite a pile of nails and screws. I don’t have much in the way of lumber, but in my basement there are a bunch of large playwood sheets used to keep things up off the floor. I’d grab those and get them nailed up first, then go around and secure things with screws. My biggest challenge would be the large doorwall (a sliding glass door) in my kitchen. For that, I’d take the hardwood top off our dining room table to use as a base, and then just pile up everything I could move to block things up.



Typo alert: “done in a phased approached” approached–>approach 😀

“have basic tool” tool–>tools

Doorwall might seem like a typo but Google says it’s an urban term for a large glass sliding door so I’ll just let that slide! 😀


Well I guess I overestimated how many people used the term “doorwall”.


Fixed both.

And right you are about doorwalls. I’m guessing that’s regional slang; I clarified that one in a parenthetical.


Funny. If you go on AMAZON then it recognizes the term “doorwall” just fine and brings up items related to large sliding glass doors. But almost none of the items it brings up use the therm “doorwall” in ther diesriptions.


Well that’s pretty darn interesting.

Now you guys have me curious, does anyone else here know/use the term, or is it just me? Maybe it’s a northern Michigan thing.


I grew up in SE Michigan and we used the term all the time. My mom didn’t move to Michigan until she was in her early 30s and I heard her use the term all the time when I was growing up. English wasn’t my fathers first language so he doesn’t count.


No, that’s the weird part. She grew up in Maine. I remember as a young kid that she still had some strange names for things. Apart from the while soda vs pop thing she used to call gas stations “filling stations”


My garage is connected to my house, so I could access the seldom-used workshop with its large supplies of thick plywood and nail guns. I would only really need to board up the front and back door because all of the windows other than the bay windows are 7 feet off the ground. My lower floor has 2 bay windows, and those would be a challenge. I would probably have to go outside and board each panel up separately.


I’ve never had a bay window. They’re lovely looking, but they would be a complete pain in the ass to try to board up.


Hm? If this were to happen and we had to stay there I’d be dead. My house is a connected condo that is littered with windows and a lot of them are waist level or lower. The only safe places would be in the basement or attic and neither are safe for hoards or any period of time. I gotsta Run!


Ive got an extensive collection of tools and hardware in my garage workshop. I don’t keep a lot of wood around but my house has all solid oak interior doors that I could cannibalize to board up openings.

Its not easy to break a modern widow with just your bare hands either. If they are slow zeds and don’t know to pick up a rock then Im guessing the only way they will break windows will be the combined force of a bunch of them crushing in on it together trying to get though. I also wonder if they could climb in though any window more then 4ft high or so.


Interesting that you bring up that it’s not easy to break modern windows barehanded. I’d actually heard that before, but never really gave it a whole lot of thought. I’m going to have to look into that further.


All I can say is “city folk”. That’s right it is pretty obvious most of you live in cities. So let’s go differently.

I live in a prefabricated housing unit better known as a doublewide. Securing it from zeds generally means knocking down the three steps leading up to the doors. Zeds can’t get in cause everything is too high up.

Of course it is a prefab so not that secure. Which is why I would make sure the fence around the yard stays secure and the “house’ is the fall back position. Of course keeping the neighbors fences up and using them as an escape route if things go way down south is another obvious answer.


Nice! I love the different approach.

And yes, I am sadly a suburbanite. I’m hoping that when I buy a house in the next few years, that I’m able to get on a couple of acres.


Hmmm, good question. I have a two story house so my plan has always been to block off the one door to the upstairs. But, to play along, I would have to board up a *lot* of windows. And, I don’t have extra wood/lumber just laying around. The best I could think of would be to dump the shelving in the garage and use the plywood as boarding material (metal frame with wood inserts). If I had a day, I could probably do this. If the zombies are pushing in as I’m trying to fortify….?


Excellent point about fortifying with the zombies actively trying to get in. That certainly adds a bit to the challenge level, doesn’t it?


Living in hurricane territory, most folks down here have *some* plywood and screws/nails on hand, tho once the landfall is forecast, there’s a rush to the hardware centers. I know my ex In-laws had some clips that slipped around the edges of pre-cut boards and quickly press into inletted window frames (they have a brick exterior, works well for them; I’m in an all wood house, so this wouldn’t work for me, leading back to plain plywood and screws). I’ve joked that my hurricane plans involve boarding up and then bristling with gun barrels, lIke a wooden hedgehog! 😉 Again with storm preps, the local and state authorities strongly recommend having food and water for our households, at the beginning of each hurricane season. The only time we really used our preps growing up, was for an ice storm that knocked out power for a week in January, instead of during the summer.


I’ve seen some pretty clever stuff with pre-cut plywood and brackets on people’s houses in hurricane country. Man am I glad I don’t have to worry about that stuff here.


Regarding the question, I don’t think I’d need a barricade. The staircase leading to my house is really inclined, the zombies’ lack of coordination would probably send them toppling down. But in worst case scenario, push my oven in front of the door. That thing took nearly three men to haul it inside and no zombie claws would be able to shove it out of the way.

Comments are closed.