Fracture and mechanical properties of the water saturated sedimentary rocks have been experimentally investigated in the present paper. Three types of sandstones and one type of shale were saturated in water for different periods of time. They were then tested for their index geomechanical properties such as Brazilian tensile strength (BTS), Young’s modulus (YM), P-wave velocity and all pure and mixed-mode fracture toughness (FT). FT was measured using semicircular bend specimens in a three-point bend set-up. All the geomechanical and fracture properties of the saturated rocks were compared together to investigate their interrelations. Further, statistical methods were employed to measure the statistical significance of such relationships. Next, three types of fracture criteria were compared with the present experimental results. Results show that degree of saturation has significant effect on both the strength and fracture properties of sedimentary rock. A general decrease in the mechanical and fracture toughness was noticed with increasing saturation levels. But, t-test confirmed that FT, BTS, P-wave velocity and YM are strongly dependent on each other and linear relationships exist across all the saturation values. Calculation of the ‘degradation degree’ (DD) appeared to be a difficult task for all types of sedimentary rocks. While in sandstone, both the BTS and mode-I FT overestimated the DD calculated by YM method, in shale BTS was found to give a closure value. © 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria.