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Closing The Pool - Can't Get The Ladder Out


netscorer
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Hi everyone - new pool owner here and would appreciate your advise.

We have an inground vinyl pool and a ladder at the deep end. It was inserted by the pool opening company at the beginning of the season. We decided to close the pool ourselves but the one prblem we have is that the ladder is stuck. It looks likes the ladder is fused with deck anchors (probably corrosion and dirt not removed when the ladder was inserted in the spring). I tried to use WD40 and then knock ladder with rubber mallet, even car jack - nothing helps.

So the question is basically, what options do we have. Can we leave the ladder in the pool over the winter (we are in Connecticut)? Are there methods that you used that might help in this situation?

Thanks !

Here are some pictures to help me illustrate the situation:

IMG_4426a.jpg

IMG_4427.jpg

IMG_4428.jpg

IMG_4429a.jpg

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Hi everyone - new pool owner here and would appreciate your advise.

We have an inground vinyl pool and a ladder at the deep end. It was inserted by the pool opening company at the beginning of the season. We decided to close the pool ourselves but the one prblem we have is that the ladder is stuck. It looks likes the ladder is fused with deck anchors (probably corrosion and dirt not removed when the ladder was inserted in the spring). I tried to use WD40 and then knock ladder with rubber mallet, even car jack - nothing helps.

So the question is basically, what options do we have. Can we leave the ladder in the pool over the winter (we are in Connecticut)? Are there methods that you used that might help in this situation?

Thanks !

Here are some pictures to help me illustrate the situation:

IMG_4426a.jpg

IMG_4427.jpg

IMG_4428.jpg

IMG_4429a.jpg

The ladder has to come out so you can attach the safety cover correctly, or leave it and install the cover around it.

The only other thing I can think of when trying to remove the ladder push on rail towards the pool and pull up at the same time. Sometimes this releases just enough pressure to pull it out because the ladder and the anchors are not right. It will still be tuff

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Are there methods that you used that might help in this situation?

I always loosen the bolt (with a 3/8 ratchet and the correct socket) until it sticks up out of the hole about 3/4 of an inch, and then tap the bolt back down with the side of the ratchet. That releases the tapered wedge that holds the ladder in tight. The ladder will then lift easily out of the cups.

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Thanks everyone for the replies I got so far. I tried everything already except for the torch suggestion - probably not a bad idea. I'll have to check Home Depot over the weekend to see if I can either rent one or buy one cheap. I really don't want to leave ladder in place all winter.

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When you use the torch try to focus the flame on the anchor and not the ladder rail since it will expand as well. A proactive tip for next year when installing after a ladder lock-up is to grease the part that will go into the anchor.

You wouldnt be able to twist the rail out by removing the treads simply because it is affixed in its location and tight against the pool wall.

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When you use the torch try to focus the flame on the anchor and not the ladder rail since it will expand as well. A proactive tip for next year when installing after a ladder lock-up is to grease the part that will go into the anchor.

You wouldnt be able to twist the rail out by removing the treads simply because it is affixed in its location and tight against the pool wall.

Thanks - I am planning to try the torch over the weekend. To the other person asking if my pool is SWG - yes, it is. I installed the system this year. By the way, worked like a charm - once I was able to clear the initial conditions (previous owner did not open the pool for several years!), I enjoyed crystal clear water all season long with zero chlorine additions. Pump was working for only 6 hours every night and there was no chlorine smell or miscoloration of the swimming suits. The neighbors, using the regular chlorine shocks were fighting algae all August and had chlorine smell so bad we could sense it when there was wind coming our direction.

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When you use the torch try to focus the flame on the anchor and not the ladder rail since it will expand as well. A proactive tip for next year when installing after a ladder lock-up is to grease the part that will go into the anchor.

You wouldnt be able to twist the rail out by removing the treads simply because it is affixed in its location and tight against the pool wall.

Thanks - I am planning to try the torch over the weekend. To the other person asking if my pool is SWG - yes, it is. I installed the system this year. By the way, worked like a charm - once I was able to clear the initial conditions (previous owner did not open the pool for several years!), I enjoyed crystal clear water all season long with zero chlorine additions. Pump was working for only 6 hours every night and there was no chlorine smell or miscoloration of the swimming suits. The neighbors, using the regular chlorine shocks were fighting algae all August and had chlorine smell so bad we could sense it when there was wind coming our direction.

Hi netscorer,

I had this same, exact problem just last week. While my husband was at work I decided to start taking out our ladders and get a head start on closing our pool (we are in CT also). I removed the bolts and couldn't get those ladders to budge.

When my husband came home later on, I explained what I was trying to do and he told me that in order to get them out you have to start to remove the bolts until they are sticking up about 3/4" (you don't remove them) then tap the bolts with a hammer until the bolt drops back down even with the deck. This releases the wedge that is holding them in and you'll be able to lift your ladder right out. So for you, you'll need to screw the bolt back in somewhat and then tap it with a hammer. I watched him do this and it worked like a charm, and it's so easy.

Please try this and let us know how you make out.

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Hi netscorer,

I had this same, exact problem just last week. While my husband was at work I decided to start taking out our ladders and get a head start on closing our pool (we are in CT also). I removed the bolts and couldn't get those ladders to budge.

When my husband came home later on, I explained what I was trying to do and he told me that in order to get them out you have to start to remove the bolts until they are sticking up about 3/4" (you don't remove them) then tap the bolts with a hammer until the bolt drops back down even with the deck. This releases the wedge that is holding them in and you'll be able to lift your ladder right out. So for you, you'll need to screw the bolt back in somewhat and then tap it with a hammer. I watched him do this and it worked like a charm, and it's so easy.

Please try this and let us know how you make out.

Thanks for the advise Chessie. I knocked the wedges down before I wrote to this forum. The bolts that are on the picture are removed afterwords and can slide down to the full length. So this is not the wedge that blocks the ladder advance but the friction of the rails and the anchors. I am yet to try the torch - need to get out to the hardware store and get one.

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  • 4 months later...

I have encountered this problem at least a hundred times - here are your best solution:

1) This is a wedge anchor and relies on a compression fit whereby when you tighten the bolt a wedge is driven between the ladder and the anchor which cuases a friction fit. Just loosening the bolts, and even taking them out, will not always allow the wedge to release and drop back down. Use a blunt screwdrive and a mallot and hammer down into in hole the bolt was in to see if you can get the anchor to release. This is more of a "delicate hammer" than the "hammer of thor" approach. If by chance you did not know that this is how you are supposed to remove ladder rails from wedge anchors...well then it will be a long walk back to your car to put the jack away =)

2) Ask the biggest toughest person you know to wrench on the rails for a while. I always employ at least one worker with the crushing hand strenght of a silverback gorilla for situations like this. A car jack almost never works despite its obvous upwards force strength due to friction and angles required to work the rail loose. A person strong person manipulating the rails has a better chance than the car jack.

3) Remove the treds on the stairs. You do not need to be able to sipn the rails all the way around. Usually just getting them to crack and move a little is enough to facilitate removing the rail

4) If you still cant get it out then cut the ladder off flush with the deck using an angle grinder or hacksaw. Be sure to file the edges or fill with cement to prevent serious cuts to peoples feet. You can also easily install deck mounted ladder anchors which will componsate for the three inches or so of ladder rail that you cut off by being mounted three inches higher tht recessed ladder anchors.

I hope this information is helpful.

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  • 13 years later...

I have the same issue of getting the ladders out.  I’ve tried cleaning all the white corrosion off and greasing the heck out of the ladder and hole.  Last year I had a heck of a time with it and finally gave up and went in for dinner, it had cooled down by the time I got back to it and the slid out.  My theory is that the ladder metal expanded more than the aluminum in the ground, so when it cooled, it was easier.  Mind you these ladders and mounts are 35+ years old.  I dread having to remove and replace all the concrete hold the mounts in, so any advice would certainly be welcome.

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