Increased interactions at the graphene-metal interface are here demonstrated to yield an effective prevention of intercalation of foreign species below the graphene cover. Hereby, an engineering pathway for increasing the usability of graphene as a metal coating is demonstrated. Graphene on Ir(111) (Gr/Ir(111)) is used as a model system, as it has previously been well-established that an increased interaction and formation of chemical bonds at the graphene-Ir interface can be induced by hydrogen functionalization of the graphene from its top side. With X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, it is shown that hydrogen-induced increased interactions at the Gr/Ir(111) interface effectively prevents intercalation of CO in the millibar range. The scheme leads to protection against at least 10 times higher pressure and 70 times higher fluences of CO, compared to the protection offered by pristine Gr/Ir(111).