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I'm going to attach handrails to my walls and I have a few questions before I start. I have brackets with three screw holes.

I'm assuming my studs are softwood? The reason I am asking is that all the references I see on pilot holes sizes differentiate between softwood or hardwood. I have also seen some different recommendations on pilot hole size. Most say that for softwood a #10 screw needs a 7/64" pilot hole. The one recommendation for a smaller hole (3/32") comes from the American Wood Council (AWC). I'm inclined to go with 7/64" as I'd rather not risk any chance of splitting the wood and it may make the screwing a bit easier.

The code for attachment of handrails says:
1) Handrails shall be attached to wood studs, wood blocking, steel studs or masonry at points spaced not more than 1.2 m apart.
2) Attachment to wood studs and blocking required in Sentence (1) shall consist of not less than 2 wood screws at each point, penetrating not less than 32 mm into solid wood.​
32 mm is 1.25". The screws that came with my bracket are 1.25" exactly but I have to go through 0.5" drywall as well, so actually I'll be going through 0.75" of wood instead of 1.25" as the code says. The problem is that the screws are satin nickel oval head and I don't think I'll be able to find any of those in 1.75" or 2" anywhere. Any ideas? Should I go ahead and use those screws or should I look for some matching screws that are longer.
 

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2" screws are better. Drill size should be the same of slightly smaller than the shank of the screw. For wood screws, I measure the shank about 1/2 way up the screw. I usually angle the top two screws to get three screws into the stud.
 

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