Vector theories dealing with the interaction of light with surface roughness are reviewed. Light scattering from microirregularities whose heights are much smaller and much larger than the wavelength of the incident light are discussed. The theories apply to metal-coated surfaces and, in addition, surfaces covered with multilayer dielectric stacks. Surface plasmon effects, which are also discussed, include the decrease in the specular reflectance caused by conversion of photon energy into surface plasmons (i.e., additional absorption due to surface plasmons), as well as the radiative decay of surface plasmons into photons (i.e., surface plasmon "scattering"). There is a brief discussion of how to use experimental surface height data in the theoretical formulae. Finally, published experimental data on scattering and surface plasmon effects are compared to theoretical predictions.