When Pine Street Carpenters had to remove debris and haul new materials to and from a Chadds Ford, Pa., home’s third story, lead carpenter Tom O’Neill came up with a unique solution that would be efficient, clean, and minimally disruptive: a zip line.

Traveling Trash

Tight turns and high-end finishes made third-floor access difficult and the home’s location and landscaping prevented the use of a demolition chute. PSC could have used a drop cloth and lots of protective plastic (which would have to be installed and removed daily), marched up and down three flights of stairs then go another 100 feet and up a flight of hardscaped steps to get to the Dumpster. But that would have been extremely time-consuming, says marketing manager Michael Dolan. O’Neill, an avid outdoorsman who has done a lot of mountain climbing, spent about $500 for materials — 11 millimeter static climbing rope, carabiners, pulleys, heavy duty slings, and a “come-along” (winch) — at an arborist store. He anchored the zip line to lumber attached to the third-floor rafters then ran it out 130 feet and anchored it to a tree (protecting the tree with discarded plush carpeting first) next to a Dumpster.

Serious Fun

The device saved at least a week in labor time and is reusable. “We had [originally] planned on a whole day with three guys to get the drywall out,” O’Neill says. With the zip line it took two hours “and we got full boards instead of having to cut it in pieces.” An old bathtub, lumber, mortar, plumber’s tools, trash all made the trip up or down. “I even rode it down at the end of the day to get to my truck,” O’Neill says. But the best part was “the smiles on everyone’s faces and that we had a bit of fun taking out the trash.” —Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING. Take a look below to watch the video.