A method for sizing nanoparticles using phase-stepping interferometry has been developed recently by Little et al. [Appl. Phys. Lett. 103, 161107 (2013)]. We present an analytical procedure to quantify how sensitive measurement precision is to surface roughness. This procedure computes the standard deviation in the measured phase as a function of the surface roughness power spectrum. It is applied to nanospheres and nanowires on a flat plane and also a flat plane in isolation. Calculated sensitivity levels demonstrate that surface roughness is unlikely to be the limiting factor on measurement precision when measuring nanoparticle size using this phase-shifting-interferometry-based technique. The need to use an underlying surface that is very smooth when measuring nanoparticles is highlighted by the analysis.