I have a 150 year old house in Nova Scotia that I bought 4 years ago and have been working on - previously pretty much untouched for 40 years! I should add that I'm fairly good at woodwork - helped my Dad with our boat as a kid - and have successfully done quite a lot around here including building a fabulously successful woodshed. I've never touched or even thought about plumbing in my life though, so I'm looking for some guidance.

The house only has a first floor bathroom and I'm in the process of installing one on the second floor in a large closet I've extended to make a compact shower room/toilet. It's going reasonably well so far although plans scarcely resemble original ideas with unforeseen beams and wiring and stuff in unexpected places. Still, I seem to have arrived at a configuration that looks like it is going to work. I bought a Toto Drake C743E#01 toilet with a 12" rough in and a round bowl based on review on your website and elsewhere - seems a great toilet and I've had far far too much to do with blocked toilets in my life! I've taken up the relevant floor boards to gain good access, I've cut the hole for the shower cut a hole for a forced-air vent which will usefully give access under where the sink is to go to enable me to connect everything up there. I have found a route through the bathroom downstairs for the pipes to go (including forced air heating) which is reasonably accessible and gives a pretty direct route down to the sewer pipes downstairs in the basement. So my next job is to connect the waste-water pipes - I think?

As I say, I've never had anything to do with plumbing so I'm wondering if there is a complete beginner's guide to waste-water pipes on the website? I think I have a lot of the basics worked out. 2" pipe from the shower will have a Y connector to a 1.5" pipe which will go to the vent thru the wall (1.5" is acceptable in here in NS when connected to 3" in the attic which goes thru the roof). That 1.5" pipe will in turn have another Y which goes to a 1.5" for the sink drain. All will angle down to enable flow. I have plenty of room so I can be well over minimum angle to give a good flow.

The 2" from the shower will connect to the 3" main sewer out of the bathroom. It's the connection of the toilet that I feel a bit lost. I can see from the outside that the flow of water inside the Toto toilet means that it exits the toilet at about 45 degrees. Given that Toto toilets give a very powerful flush I think I need a flange at 45 degrees as well so as not to disrupt the flow and I should then use gentle curves to connect the toilet to the 3" sewer main below. This keeps the momentum of the flush going without interruption, nothing to snag on to cause a blockage and no build up of deposits that could cause a blockage. I spoke to my local hardware store and the guy was showing me a vertical flange and saying that's fine, but it does seem to me that this would disrupt flow and potentially cause a blockage. Am I on the right lines so far?

I'm rather conscious of the possible need for access to the piping at a later date and the need not to dismantle the entire shower room to do so. So I'm thinking of making sure that part of the floor can be taken up without having to tear out the entire bathroom. I'm thinking of having as many of the pipe connections as possible located under this accessible space. The 1.5" vent to 2" shower connection, the 2" shower to 3" sewer connection and the toilet to the 3" sewer connection as well as many of the hot and cold water pipe connections as possible. I'm also thinking of having the toilet connect to the 3" sewer with a Y so I can blank off the end of the pipe with a screw on cap and get access from the accessible space with an auger in case there's a heavy-duty blockage. In terms of the order of things on the main sewer pipe; from the screw cap downstream, there would first be the cap, then the Y connection from the 2" shower pipe and then the last thing would be the 3" connection from the toilet which would also be a Y connector. The connecting pipe would be angled so that when looking from the bottom of the Y the joining pipe would be (say) at an angle of 5-10 degrees from the horizontal to prevent backflow from the sewer pipe.

The shower will have a P trap. My hardware store suggested a back water valve on the 2" pipe to the shower, but I think they were just trying to make a sale and I understand back water valves are really only needed where there's a slope and a chance of sewage flowing back on the main sewage line from the house. Also, I see it as a mechanical part that at some stage may break down and cause problems. I'm using cell core ABS piping which had a good offer on at my hardware store. I'll make sure the core is sealed with adhesive when I assemble it.

That's my thoughts so far on this. I have looked around on the internet, but I've found rather little on brand-new installations, everything seems to assume all the pipes are already in place. As I mention I'm a complete novice on this so eager to receive suggestions on the many things I'm no doubt unaware of!

Sorry for this very long post and thanks for any thoughts!