Structural steel doesn't play too big a
role on the typical remodel job site,
and for understandable reasons: You
can't work steel with your usual tools,
it's heavy, and using it means adding
an unfamiliar supplier who may have
little interest in how houses are built.
Finally, wood (or its engineered byproducts)
is plenty strong for typical
loads at typical spans.
Nevertheless, I've found myself calling
for structural steel more often these days
in our addition and renovation work.
And it isn't always to deal with long
spans or heavy loads. More often it's
because of steel's compact size relative to
wood of the same strength, and because
it can be welded into custom shapes that