When installing baseboards many homeowners are looking for sustainable materials rather than the standard wood that is in most homes. There are many sustainable materials available for use today in most construction. You will never have to search too far to get the most eco-friendly products for your home. Having a green mindset when remodeling can be healthy on your emotions and wallet if you know where to look. There may even be materials listed here that you didn't know were healthy on the environment.
Many people are using ceramic or travertine tiles to enhance the appearance of their home. With the proper choices of tile you can beautify and create a sustainable home with very little effort. Much the same way that ceramic tiles are able to keep your floor cool if you expand your tiles to your baseboards that helps you with cleaning and maintenance costs. Warm soapy water can keep the baseboards made of ceramics clean and you do not have to paint them at all. Since they are not on the floor they are very unlikely to be broken, chipped or cracked.
Vinyl is a very resilient and can be found in a great variety of colors and textures for your baseboards. Much like ceramic the vinyl tiles or baseboards can be easily cleaned and do not need to be painted. When you are choosing vinyl the dressing of the home will flow better from the floor to the walls.
Pressure-treated woods are not nearly as sustainable as ceramics or vinyl, but the construction and treatment of the material helps to reduce the occurrence of rot, warp or insect damage. If you wish for wood to be more sustainable do not paint it and instead varnish it to a nice color. A permanent finish like a stain or varnish will enable your wood baseboards to maintain their beauty for many years and will reduce the maintenance costs too. You won't have to deal with re-painting the baseboards that may get smudged by shoe rubber.
Other Things to Consider
When you are installing your baseboard materials it is important to consider the adhesives that you are going to use. With tile you can either use a mortar bond, or a synthetic bond adhesive. With a synthetic bond adhesive you can keep the tiles from breaking loose due to dry and cracking mortar. It is more flexible and can withstand the little adjustments to your home's foundation due to weather changes. To continue to be a green adhesive though you should consider your choices carefully. Many vinyl options come with self-stick backing which will enable you to eliminate the additional adhesives, and any kind of wood can be put up without any adhesive at all, and you can either use drilled holes and wooden pegs or nails that are inset and then the indents plugged in with wood putty.
When you are considering your top materials for sustainable baseboards ceramic or stone is probably the best aesthetic choice and vinyl is the most green option.