While most people acknowledge the benefits of uPVC, few have a good word to say about window and door companies. Traditionally, they rate poorly alongside used car dealers, politicians and insurance companies, a reputation kept alive by aggressive, poorly trained reps, and guarantees not worth the paper they are written on.

But shopping for windows and doors need not be traumatic or risky. True, there are some poor sales people about, and disreputable companies, but many are thoroughly professional and dedicated to providing high standards of product and service. Indeed many problems are self-inflicted, arising from a lack of awareness and false expectations on the part of buyers.

The biggest myth, and the one that leads to more consumer problems than any other, is the assumption that all companies and products are more or less the same. If they are then all you have to do is line up several companies and ask the price. Think of all the time you save! But, like an iceberg, its’ the parts you don’t see or don’t bother to look for that do the damage.

Three elements are key to a long and trouble free life – a well-made window, the quality of the installation and dependable after-care. Like a three-legged stool each element is important. Ignore even one and problems will arise.

So ask how long the company has been in business? Are they likely to be around to sort out any problems that do arise? What exactly does a 10 year guarantee mean? Do they have independent quality certification, such as the Q Mark? How long have the installers worked for the company? Are they actually employed, or merely self-employed? Do they have many satisfied customers to endorse the quality of their work?

Ignore the differences between companies, and it could end in tears. Remember you get what you pay for. Quality counts!