The article presents the results of permeability measurements of a zirconium alcohol coating applied on moulds and cores. The introduction extensively discusses the reasons for the application of protective coatings, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Also, the problems related to the application of protective coatings are presented i.e. limited permeability and thus the possibility of the presence of gas-originated defects in the casts. Next, the paper discusses the methods of measuring the permeability of protective coating proposed by Falęcki and Pacyniak. The study also presents an indirect permeability measurement method. For the investigations, zirconium alcohol coatings with the three conventional viscosities 10, 20 and 30s were used. The viscosity was determined by means of the Ford cup with the clearance of 4mm. The coatings were applied onto profiles of Φ 50x50 mm, made of moulding sand consisting of a sand matrix with the mean grain size of dL = 0,11, 17, 24, 31 and 34 mm and phenol-formaldehyde resin. The effect of the matrix grain size on the permeability of the sand with and without a coating was determined.