This work presents direct numerical simulations (DNS) of a circular turbulent jet impinging on rough plates. The roughness is once resolved through an immersed boundary method (IBM) and once modeled through a parametric forcing approach (PFA) which accounts for surface roughness effects by applying a forcing term into the Navier–Stokes equations within a thin layer in the near-wall region. The DNS with the IBM setup is validated using optical flow field measurements over a smooth and a rough plate with similar statistical surface properties. In the study, IBM-resolved cases are used to show that the PFA is capable of reproducing mean flow features well at large wall-normal distances, while less accurate predictions are observed in the near-wall region. The demarcation between these two regions is approximately identified with the mean wall height 𝑘𝑚 of the surface roughness distribution. Based on the observed differences in the results between IBM- and PFA-resolved cases, plausible future improvements of the PFA are suggested.