Its easy to spend a lot on floor coverings. It has taken us many rehabs to find sources, but now we’ve got our flooring material cost averaging under 50 cents per sq ft. We mostly use carpet and linoleum, although on occasion we’ve used tile and laminate. We are fortunate that our MHP is close to a MH factory, so we buy their end runs dirt cheap (but the best part is the availability of 14’ and 16’ widths). If you can find a manufacture close enough to make it cost effective, you should be able to get some great buys. We buy 2nds of laminate from a wholesaler for $2-3.50 sq yd. They will ship nationwide, but you may do better looking locally. If you want their ph#, shoot me an email. On the occasions where we’ve used laminate, we haven’t been able to get the cost under $1 (laminate + underlayment).
We have experimented with stapling carpet directly to the subfloor without padding, but haven’t liked the results. It feels thin and isn’t comfortable, plus it doesn’t wear well. We’ve tried using nice thick padding under inexpensive carpet with good results- happy homeowners. We also have some rental properties (stick n brick) and we use laminate flooring in the non wet areas because it wears better than carpet (which seems to always require replacing no matter how short the tenancy).