When we started this project I had envisioned using hardwood flooring for a big portion of the house. People that live in the area started telling us that we were crazy to use hardwood. The soil in the area is very sandy, so sand would be constantly be coming into the house. Sand + hardwood doesn't make a very good combination. It took some convincing, but I finally agreed. We decided to go with tile instead.
The tile stores near the house consist of Home Depot and a couple of smaller tile/carpet shops. We were looking for 16x16 tile, so that limited the selection even further. I started out looking for tile in the Twin Cities to try to get an idea for price. After nearly a million trips to tile stores, I came across an 18x18 discontinued tile at Home Depot that I really liked. The price was right and the color was nice. We called the Home Depot closest to the job site, and of course they didn't have any. The closest store was 70 miles away and they only had 350 sq/ft, but we needed ~500 sq/ft. We decide to buy what they had and pick up the rest in the cities.
At the store they wrapped up the 19 cases and my dad took them home. When he unpacked them he discovered that 8 of the 19 cases were damaged. Every tile in 8 of the cases were cracked. Apparently a fork lift driver dropped them or something. He called the store and they agreed to take back all of the tile (at the original store 70 miles away). We took this as a sign that maybe we needed to look for a different tile.
Hopefully we'll find something soon, because we were hoping to start tiling next week.