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Barricading article.jpg


Barricading is one of the essential aspects of the survival of a human team. A well-constructed barricade allows humans to completely (or partially) avoid hits from various types of zombie attacks. As zombies become stronger with each wave, the chances of survival without a barricade are close to zero. Before proceeding to the basic principles and description of the mechanics of barricading, it is necessary to understand the scale of the diversity and variability of this process.

Here are some facts:

  • There are about/over 700 different maps in the Zombie Survival gamemode.
  • In the maps themselves, there are at least several spots for barricading.
  • There are a number of props on the maps that you can use for barricading - from a few dozen to a few hundred.
  • The total number of props is about 3,000 (not including the custom ones).

This means that there is no universal “scheme” of the barricade that can be built on any map at any spot with the same props. On some maps with a large amount of props, you can build a thousand different barricades, changing combinations and quantity of props, as if shuffling a deck of cards.

But this is not a disadvantage of this gamemode. On the contrary - this is one of its main advantages because it gives you a huge choice and space for imagination. You have no limitations in terms of complexity and design. But there are basic principles and rules that distinguish a bad, useless barricade from a good, useful one. The description of these “basic rules” is the goal of this topic because without them you cannot build a good barricade (even the simplest one).

But it is also worth noting that for a beginner, it is extremely hard to cope with all the variety. In most cases, people make critical mistakes due to the lack of experience in barricading and because of the lack of knowledge of many aspects of the zs gameplay which leads to catastrophic consequences. The best solution is to observe the barricades that are built from veteran players, try to repeat them in single-player, and only then try to build them on the server.


Barricade Any number of props (even 1) nailed by hammer ( Carpenter's Hammer ), which blocks passage for most types of zombies. In the future, for simplicity, the barricade will be called "cade".
Shitcade A kind of cade that has no practical use for a human team and which, accordingly, facilitates the task for the zombie team. In other words, a "wrong constructed cade".
Prop Any physical object/subject that can (or cannot, f.e. – glass) be nailed with a hammer.
Hammer The main tool needed to nail the prop and for their further repair.
Nail Is the only consumable material (ammo) that the hammer uses to nail the prop and/or to increase the health of the prop. Number of nails = maximum number of props you can nail.
Phasing Status when you go through the barricade with the press Z (Zoom) key.
HP Short for Hitpoints. The remaining "life" of any entity, be it a human, zombie, nest, brush, deployable, prop, etc.
Deployable Deployables are items that can be placed in the world. Deployables can be rotated with Secondary Fire/Reload before they are placed. Deployables have HP, and they will be destroyed if they take enough damage from zombies. They can also be repaired using a mechanic's wrench. Humans will not collide with deployables, but zombies will. Props may also be nailed to deployables.
Prop Health (prop HP) There are two types of prop HP - Main HP and Repair HP.

Main HP is displayed at the bottom of the green bar and with numbers on top.

Prop with a full amount of main hp.

The digit on the left displays the current (remaining) prop hp, the digit on the right is the maximum prop hp. When a prop takes damage from a zombie, the digit on the left and the green bar begin to decrease and, depending on the damage received, the bar changes color to yellow or red:

Prop with a small amount of main hp.

Repair HP displays the number of additional hp that you can use when repairing a prop. When repairing, the blue bar will start to decrease:

GIF how the mechanics of repairing prop work.

When you run out the repair hp:

Prop that can no longer be repaired.

This means that the prop cannot be repaired anymore and the only remaining HP is the Main HP. When it is at zero – the prop will break. The number (4) means the number of nails in the prop.

Big props
Example of big props.

Mostly large-sized props that are heavy and have a lot more main hp and repair hp than small props:

You cannot carry heavy props at high speed. In rare exceptions, small-looking props come across that can be mistakenly attributed to small and light props. For example, Harpoon:

Harpoon big prop.jpg
Small props
Example of small props.

Basically, props of small size and weight, having a lesser main and repair hp. You can carry lightweight props with high speed:

What is needed for barricading

Barricading Skills

All barricade-related skills are located in the defense tree of the skill menu. Skills underlined in blue are required, underlined in yellow — situational:

Barricading skill tree.jpg
“Handy I-V”
Give you an additional 20% to the repair rate.
“Hammer Discipline”
Increase the swing speed with a hammer by 6%.
Gives you a 6 extra nails at start
Gives you an ability to repair faster if a prop was nailed on the previous wave, but props nailed on the current wave will repair more slowly.
The props you repaired can be automatically repaired with 3x repair rate over time with fast ticks, but your overall repair rate is reduced.
Increases the repair speed with a hammer if the prop has low HP, but reduces the repair speed in general.
“Precision Repairs”
Is a special skill that creates special points on the prop, hit on which will increase the repair rate, but will reduce the repair rate and speed if miss this point.
GIF showing how the “Precision Repairs” skill works.
Location of “Barricade Expert” skill.

“Barricade Expert” is a skill which cannot be found in the skill menu. This skill is automatically granted as soon as you remort.

After activating this skill, the prop you have nailed will have a special padlock icon and the lock itself will have a color that matches the color of your remort tier. Remort tiers are divided into groups according to colors, i.e. you can unnail props which are in your remort level group (the same color of the remort), but with a penalty:

Updated: now there are only 2 groups: 0-9 remort and 10 - ∞ remort

What does the padlock icon look like.
Location of this hearts.

But the big difference in the remorts can be bypassed if the person with a higher remort level presses a “heart” in the scoreboard near your name. That’s called “nailhearting” and you’ll be able to unnail this person's prop without losing points. Also, you receive your nails back when the nailhearted person removes your nails. When someone gives you a heart, it will become green. You need to earn the trust of the players as a cader and then they may nailheart you after you ask them.

Necessary tools

Marked in blue are necessarily required to purchase, yellow are situational

Barricading necessary tools 1.jpg Barricading necessary tools 2.jpg Barricading necessary tools 3.jpg
GIF shows how to break a door with a hammers.

In addition to being able to repair, nail/unnail props with hammer, you can also rapidly break doors. Pressing R deals 200 damage to any door, which gives you the opportunity to break them much faster.

Since everything is clear with a Weapon zs hammer2.png hammer, let’s go briefly through the rest of the tools:

Weapon zs boardpack.png
Junk pack
A useful set of 4 wooden props, which includes all 5 types of boards and 6 more types of other wooden props in the form of chairs, backs of chairs, small shelves, etc.

I.e., this pack will give you 4 random props of 11.

Weapon zs barricadekit.png
”Palisade” Barricade Kit (formerly “Aegis”)
Is a useful simple tool that allows you to quickly close an entrance with one shield board without using a hammer. It allows you to pass through without phasing and shoot through it, which makes this tool very useful in the early waves, due to it allows you to make a safe escape for people if zombies push them. You cannot repair the board. You can buy it only in the worth. Each board has ~400hp. Press Shift to pack boards.
Further items for quick and effective repair of the barricades
Supportive icon.png
A trinket that gives +repair rate

Upgrade it (by selecting this trinket in the remantler menu or selecting it in the inventory (Alt key)) and get even more +repair rate, as well as chance to get pulse ammo for repair with hammer.

Weapon zs smithinghammer.png
“Smithing Hammer”
A hammer that has great repair rate and that does a lot of damage to zombies, that is, it can be used as a melee weapon if no one defends your cade.

Also, this hammer has a remantle variant“Reinforcer”. It allows you to reinforce the prop so it will take less damage. Reinforcer has a very low repair rate, but it can be increased with a Precision Repairs skill.

Reinforce your cade only when it has enough repairs. If you’re reinforcing a prop for its entire repair and hp bar, you almost doubling its effective health. Reinforced props have a shield icon.

Weapon zs arsenalcrate.png
“Prop Transponder”
One of the most important tools for survival. It allows you to buy extra props, which can be used for your cade. There’s a wide choice of props, but they have a stock limit. It’ll have a 1-minute cooldown after creating several props, but you still can buy props in that period. Transponder will queue all purchased props and print them later. Try not to lose the prop transponder and buy the most viable props at first!
Weapon zs repairfield.png
“Sentinel” Repair Field
If your cade consists of a large number of props, then buy Sentinel

Sentinel repairs absolutely all damaged props in a radius simultaneously, it can be upgraded in the remantler with scrap and is affected by the Blueprints trinket. It also works with "Field Charger" trinket, which increases the radius and reduces the delay.

An indispensable tool, especially on the wave 6, when chem breachers and juggernauts can damage dozens of props with a single hit, which you will never be able to repair by yourself. Uses pulse ammo.

Weapon zs toolicon.png
Barbed Wire
If your barricades are badly guarded (or abandoned), then you can use the Barbed Wire tool

Barbed Wire deals damage to zombies that hit the prop on which it is applied. Its amount of hp on the prop depends on the number of nails the prop has.

Weapon zs welder.png
“Shaper” Repair Welding
If you need to quickly repair the single highly damaged prop, you can use “Shaper” repair welding. Welder is also affected by the "Blueprints" trinket.
Weapon zs electrohammer.png
A hammer that allows you to repair several props in the AOE(radius) by using pulse ammo. Sometimes it can be useful if there are not enough Sentinels or no Sentinels at all.

Barricading Guide

The main characteristics of the barricades

People can get inside while phasing
This means that all props that are a part of the barricade must be nailed. Humans cannot get inside if there are loose props on their way
The GIF shows what happens if many props are not nailed.

Zombies can't get inside
All gaps of the barricade must be small enough so that zombies cannot get/crawl/jump in. Holes through which headcrabs can get inside, should also be considered.

People can shoot
Gaps should be small enough so that zombies could not get in, but large enough so that people can shoot zombies from different angles. It is desirable that people could do headshots to zombies, which stand tall. If you completely blocked all gaps and humans cannot shoot - you built a coffin, not a barricade.
An example of a not very good barricade through which it is difficult to shoot.
But an example of the same barricade with the same props, but built more competently. Shooting from it is much more convenient.
You can reach all props with a hammer and repair them
I think everything is clear here.

The main characteristics of a "shitcade"

All of the characteristics of the barricade listed above, but vice versa.

The main characteristics of "Progressive shitcade/Grief cade"

Cading with turrets, crates, explosive barrels, etc. instead of props.

You cannot start building cades if you are overtaken by the “Progressive shitcade/Grief cade”. The props that you hold in your hands don’t have a collision with all the crates and devices, and you can carry and nail the props directly into them. But it still delivers a number of aesthetic inconveniences and grieves caders very much, because deployables interfere with nailing props to the “ground”:

An example of such a cade.

Preparation for building

After you have bought all the tools you need for making a cade - immediately start searching for the cading spot.

Low prop health % option.png

Also don’t forget to make sure that the slider is full in the option "Low prop health %" (F4 -> Gameplay / F1 -> Options -> Gameplay). This will allow you to always see the prop health, and not just when they have a low % of health.

Making a cade makes sense in the following places:

Example of the front cade and final cade in a room with sigil.
  • In the room/hallway where the sigil is spawned (required). This barricade is called the “Final Cade”.
  • In rooms/hallways which lead to a room with a sigil (optional). Such barricades are called "Front Cades". They are always simpler in their design, in most cases consist of 1-2 props and do not require a long time for construction. They serve as an additional barrier for zombies and an additional “front line” for people. The more front cades, the better for a human team. Also, do not forget that it takes time to get to your front cade from another sigil. Do not waste too many props for a front cade which is 2 miles away from the sigil.

As soon as you picked a cading spot – claim your cading spot by nailing all (if there’re not many of them) or couple of props. This indicates that this cading spot is already taken and other caders will take this into account. Then start searching and bringing all necessary props that you are going to use at the cading spot. It is advisable to find and bring all the props before the beginning of wave 1. Once you have done this, start making a cade.

Box cade example 1.jpg
Box cade example 2.jpg
Passage cade 1.jpg
Passage cade 2.jpg
Passage cade 3.jpg

Disclaimer: Don't build such barricades if you don't have experience in their construction, you can very easily make mistakes and make them from a good cade to shitcade!

You should also understand that it isn't necessary to always build barricades at the entrance, you can build a barricade absolutely anywhere and in any way, in a large room, in the middle of the hallway, etc. This usually refers to the front barricades, since such cades are difficult to build and require a lot of prop, while zombies need to break 1-2 prop to get into the cade, but such cades can give almost 180 degrees of view for players, which can help shoot zombies at an unlimited distance, as when you are in open space on the first wave.

That is, your task is to build a barricade that will be guarded by people who have good angles of fire, who can get the hit zombies from melees and where you can repair and replace props.

This is especially important to understand for the front cade barricade, since if you build the front cade far, no one will check it and protect it, which means it is a tidy target for zombies, especially for an Ancient Nightmare who will break this front cade in a matter of seconds.

One of the most common mistakes occurs on the map zs_pub_v5, where people cade the 2nd floor when all the sigils are on the 1st. Nobody guards the second floor, so the fast zombies very quickly break the cade and fall into a bunch of unsuspecting people to the sigils. It will be much better to barricade the entrances below:

Zs pub cade place example 1.jpg Zs pub cade place example 2.jpg

Hallway cade place example 1.jpg

Also let's look at this hallway. It is best to build a cade at the beginning of the hallway, closer to the sigil, than to build it there at the end of the hallway at the entrance (not even considering that at the end of the whole 2 entrances). Cade will be closer to people and people nearby will always be able to spot an attacking zombie.

All of the above also applies to final cades. Let's look at this on the map zs_lighthouse_v2b2 in the lighthouse itself. The entrance is a little further than the start. You don’t need to cade it, because if you build the cade there, you will have an extremely low viewing angle, people will not be able to attack from a melee, and zombies will be able to easily hit the cade several times (free hit prop). If you build a cade at the end of a small hallway, then you will not have these problems and you can protect your cade much more effectively.

Zs lighthouse cade place example 1.jpg Zs lighthouse cade place example 2.jpg

How to nail a prop?

Take a hammer, place a prop in the right position and nail it to the surface you need by pressing RMB. Remember, a hammer has a limited range. You cannot nail a prop 5 meters away from you. Therefore, in most cases you will have to crawl to nail a prop to the floor, and, sometimes, even to jump to nail a prop, f.e., to the ceiling. Freeze a prop in fixed position without nailing it by holding “Shift”.

How to unnail a prop / remove a nail?

Get close to the prop/nail you need, aim the crosshair at it (red point) and press R.

How to understand that a nailed prop is placed correctly?

After you have nailed a prop, make sure that:

Here is an example of a Free-Hit prop.
  • Prop does not stick out from the entrance
If it does, such a prop is called “Free-Hit Prop”, and a barricade made of free-hit props is called a free-hit cade. A prop is considered free-hit if zombies are able to hit it without getting damage from humans.
Free-Hit props are one of the basic components of the Shitcade. Zombies love free-hit props, especially “Tickle Monsters”, “Grave Diggers” and “Vipers”.

That’s how you check it. If you cannot get in, that means that zombies can’t as well.
  • The prop is not placed too far from the entrance
Otherwise - zombies can get inside. After you nailed the prop - be sure to check if you left too much space.

Visual example
Barricade layers not slanted.jpg
  • Prop is not slanted
If it does, it will complicate the further process of building up your barricade and adding new “Layers” to it. And it looks awfully ugly. If you notice that your prop is slanted - make 5 simple steps:
  1. Unnail your prop.
  2. Lean it against a wall or a corner of the room and nail it (in extreme cases, align it to any flat surface even props).
  3. Re-unnail and grab it (in the case of the door - it is better to grab it instantly, otherwise the door will fall to the ground in a second).
  4. Now when you have a perfectly aligned prop in your hand, visually position it in the desired area and freeze it by holding Shift! This is very important because it gives you an ability to move around and inspect surroundings without moving a prop.
  5. Nail the prop to the desired surface.

Align the rest of props in the same way and add “Layers”:

Bulb icon.pngTip: Don’t put the doors as shown here, this is just one of the old examples. Now this design is not very viable, because some zombies have AOE damage, that is, they will very easily destroy the barricade. They need to be placed under a certain angle to the right or left and one after another, that is, to get "steps". When this cade receives AOE damage, only one or two props will take damage every time, because others will be out of AOE range.
Correct doors placement 1.jpg Correct doors placement 2.jpg Correct doors placement 3.jpg

A few simple examples of the correct and incorrect prop placement:
Incorrect prop placement.jpg Correct prop placement.jpg Incorrect prop placement 2.jpg Correct prop placement 2.jpg

Much more functional prop position.
Bulb icon.pngTip: Considering the above it is highly recommended to place props at some angle. If you put props that way, then you will close the entrance with only with the edge of the prop but not with the whole surface of the prop. You will increase shooting angle, as well as decrease the surface which the zombies can hit. Thus, you can add more props and zombies can also simply miss and not hit the prop. That is, the main criterion is the “reduction of the contact surface" and this is applicable for any type of entrance and type of cade.

What are “Layers” of the barricade?

Any barricade consists of layers. The number of layers = the number of props that zombies must break to get inside. If a barricade consists of 1 prop - this cade has 1 layer.

It is important to understand that the number of props does not equal the number of layers. Here is an example of a cade which has 3 props, but 2 layers, since zombies have to break the blue shelf and one of the 2 tables in order to get inside:

Barricade layers 1.jpg
Make sure that all of the layers have approximately equal prop hp.

A good cade is like an onion, in the way it has many layers (especially in the final cade). This cade has 1 layer consisting of a prop (chair) with 420 hp, because it takes breaking a top chair so zombies could get inside.

The cade is only as strong as the weakest part of the cade.

Where to nail props?

Nail them to any static surface: to the floor / ceiling / walls. Sometimes you can nail prop-to-prop. But we'll talk about this below.

We don’t recommend nailing prop-to-prop for newbies. This is fraught with sad consequences.

I will give an example of a good, at first glance, barricade:

Wrong prop to prop barricade.jpg

But there is one small nuance - the blue shelf is nailed to the floor, and all the other props are nailed to the blue shelf. “So what?” Some of you will ask. Here's what:

Wrong prop to prop barricade gif.gif

  • note: you cannot break props with a stun baton in a real gameplay.

When the zombies break the blue shelf - all the rest of the props will become loose and fall to the ground. This barricade had 1 layer. And here is an example of the same barricade in which all the props are nailed to the floor and walls:

Correct prop to prop barricade.jpg

This barricade has 4 layers (blue shelf; 2 tables at the top and bottom; 1 of steel bed frames):

Correct prop to prop barricade layers.jpg

If zombies break one layer of this barricade, the other layers will remain in place:

Correct prop to prop barricade gif.gif

How to build a prop-to-prop cade?

The prop-to-prop technique is used more often in cases when the ceilings in the room are too high. In this case there are 3 options:

  1. Nail the upper part of the barricade directly to the entrance (but in this case it greatly simplifies the task for the zombies, because props that are nailed close to the entrance are much easier to hit).
  2. Build a cade with lined up props only.
  3. Build «prop-to-prop» cade.

Cons of the third option:

  • long
  • complicated
  • you cannot quadnail your prop-to-prop part of the cade if it consists of many props


  • you can build anything
  • you can leave more space from the entrance

A prop-to-prop cade consists of 2 parts: the “bracket” and the rest of props, which are nailed to it:

Prop-to-prop barricade bracket.jpg

For the bracket, select the prop according to the situation. If you need to nail only 1-2 props, then you can take a board or another small prop. But it should be big enough so you could quadnail a prop attached to it. That means - do not take a soda can as a bracket.

You nail a Bracket-prop to the "world" of course.

If you want to build the top with 4+ props, you will need a wider prop.

For example, let’s look at this cade:

Prop-to-prop barricade wider example.jpg

The lower part consists of iron tables connected in a shape of a spiral and all of them are nailed to the ground, and the upper part is completely prop-to-prop. If you remove the tables from the bottom, you can make sure that absolutely all 5 wooden tables are nailed to one door:

Prop-to-prop barricade wider example without lower part.jpg

[ front view ]:

Prop-to-prop barricade wider example front view.jpg

In addition, we still have a small distance near the entrance, where you can nail any small props on the map (boards, jars, tires, other debris) to complicate the task for the zombies even more.

But you should always keep the main flaws of this type of cades – it’s very hard to replace and you can add 8 nails max to the bracket prop (1 for nailing it to the world and other 7 by nailing other props to it). So, basically, you can nail 7 props max to your bracket cade or quadnail only 1 prop nailed to it.

Make the whole top of the cade prop-to-prop only when you have high ceilings and there’re no thin and long props available which can be stacked together like doors.

Final tips

  • Bulb icon.png Watch more experienced caders and learn. Do what they do. Take screenshots of their barricades.
There is nothing shameful in the fact that you built the exact same barricade as the other player.

  • Bulb icon.png Whenever you cade - put yourself in the place of zombies, shooters and melee mains.
Always ask yourself how would you break this cade if you were a zombie.
Evaluate at what angles the shooters can fire.

  • Bulb icon.png Nail the vast majority of props (or all of them) to the floor/walls at the cading spot, so that other players accidentally/intentionally won’t break or steal them. Also, it’s much easier to move around if there’re no loose props at all.
GIF shows an increase prop HP with an increase nails number.
  • Bulb icon.png Try to quad nail each prop.
This greatly increases the health and repair hp of the prop
Quadnail the most important props (last layer) first.

  • Bulb icon.png Do not interfere with other caders, especially if they have high remort level. Turn around and go to another sigil (or build a front cade). No experienced cader needs help from unexperienced player. Everyone has their own style and “scheme” in the head you don’t know about. Also, do not quadnail their props without asking, esp at their sigil cades.
The only way you can help is to break the doors and bring them to the cader (you can also bring some useful large and small props, but you shouldn’t abuse it, thereby interfere the cader). Doors always come in handy. Basically, any door can be broken by hitting for a long time with any weapon, even with fists (it is also possible with a gun if the situation is absolutely critical)

  • Bulb icon.png Couple words about the blue shelves. This is a quite popular and good prop, which can be found on a huge amount of maps. But not everyone knows how to place it right.
An example of how you should not place it:
Blue shelf wrong example.jpg

Why? Because zombies can crawl through the middle like this:
Blue shelf wrong example gif.gif

You need to tilt it a little “away from yourself”:
Blue shelf correct example.jpg

And now zombies will not be able to jump inside:
Blue shelf correct example gif.gif

Props replacement.gif
  • Bulb icon.png Constantly replace props in barricades. The initial props can be destroyed very quickly, so the constant addition of props and repairing them will increase the time your barricade lasts. Sometimes even a few seconds are enough for you to win the round.

  • Bulb icon.png You can try all of the above in single-player mode. To do this, subscribe to the Zombie Survival gamemode addon:
Switch Gmod to this gamemode
Barricading single player.jpg
Click “Start new game” and choose any zs maps for your practice.

  • Bulb icon.png If you are not sure about your actions and feel that barricading is not for you, then it is better to leave this matter and entrust cading to more experienced players.
Some players have been playing this gamemode for years without building a single barricade, and no one blames them for it. This is a team-based game and everyone does what they want.

Imgur icon.png Imgur Album

Link to the directory with screenshots of high-quality barricades collected from different zs servers. Check them out so that you understand what you need to strive for.

Youtube icon.png YouTube videos

To further understand the process of barricading, I suggest you watch some video of barricading in a real game, which will tell you in detail what and why was done. This will help you in further practice when building barricades. - The Cader's Perspective - The Universal Barricade - Shooting Angles - Front barricades - Barricading in the real game #1 - Barricading in the real game #2 - Barricading in the real game #3 - Weapon Showcase: "Shaper" Repair Welder

User icon.png Credits

MrDragonorg - creator and editor of this article.

Special thanks to
Speirs for the creation of the original guide and help editing this one.
Abe for helping fix, edit, create a video with creating barricades and screenshots of many barricades for the Imgur's album.