We replaced a fire escape ladder on our patio. The old ladder was fixed using screws which I don’t know how to remove. They are kind of loose, I can turn them left or right as much as I want but they don’t go in or out. There’s nothing on the other side of the brick wall either.

Any idea how to make them come out?

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  • Isn't this more of a stone wall?
    – einpoklum
    Mar 24, 2021 at 17:18
  • 3
    @einpoklum that looks a lot like brick to me...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 24, 2021 at 18:09

5 Answers 5


I believe that they are concrete sleeve anchors, something like these. When you screw the nut on and tighten it down, it pulls the anchor in and tightens the expanding sleeve against the hole. With no nut, there's nothing threaded down in the hole so the threaded rod just spins.

I don't think you can pull those out, as the end in the wall is bigger than the sleeve that goes around the rest of the threaded rod - that's what causes the sleeve to expand.

To remove, I would think that you would have to pull it out as far as possible, cut it off, then push the remaining rod back into the wall and patch over it.

You might be able to put the washer and nut back on, tighten them down, cut off the exposed rod past the nut, then remove the nut and push the remaining rod back in. I'm not sure which method would enable you to cut the most rod off.

Just a convenient link, no recommendation of the store or brand intended or implied.

  • i concur with all, but believe it might be a simple wedge anchor, without the sleeve. same removal, cut as close as you can with the bolt pulled, and then push the remaining in as far as it goes.
    – mark f
    Mar 24, 2021 at 15:29
  • 3
    Could also be lazy and hang something else off it - a small shelf or a pot plant for example.
    – Criggie
    Mar 24, 2021 at 23:32
  • Would you be able to remove them by opening up the other side of the wall and removing the anchor from the back of the bricks?
    – nick012000
    Mar 25, 2021 at 3:07
  • 1
    @Criggie If you want to do that, you'd definitely want to get the nut back on first. Depending on how the hole was drilled, sometimes these can pop all the way back into the wall without any cutting necessary. I .... may have lost a couple of anchors that way before.
    – Bob
    Mar 25, 2021 at 3:17

Assuming that it is a sleeve anchor:

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When tightened the sleeve expands and that is what holds it into the wall:

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You can try to remove these by first hammering in the bolt:

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And then trying to pull the sleeve out using needle nose pliers:

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Full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXH-O7VBqYQ&ab_channel=Xyz

A magnet can later be used to remove the bolt itself.


Enlarge the hole a little bit enough to loosen the bolt and tug it out side by side. No harm done with just filling up the hole with a bit of plaster or polyfiller and sanding it down.

  • I whittled this down to the bare essence of what I believe the answer is. It was a bit confusing to read previously. Please be sure I haven't removed too much, and that it still says what you meant to say. Also, if you would edit in some detail on how you enlarged the hole (and did you do it in brick, as is asked about in the question) would be most helpful.
    – FreeMan
    May 17, 2022 at 12:11

What you need first is to take the sleeve out.

In some cases I was able to get pliers with small ends and pull it out, but yours looks like sitting pretty tight, so need to make it wobble or maybe pre-drill from one side to get access to the sleeve.

Also, you can try jam the sleeve with rod and try to pull it out, then un-jam and repeat..


Have you tried pulling the stud whilst unscrewing it? That should stop the threaded part of the shield anchor that’s inside the wall from rotating.

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