Models derived in petroleum engineering and soil science for flow of two immiscible fluids in a porous medium are extended to the infiltration of ceramic preforms by a liquid metal. SAFFIL alumina fiber preforms are infiltrated with an aluminum matrix in a series of interrupted unidirectional and isothermal experiments at various low applied pressures, to measure profiles of the volume fraction of metal along the length of the reforms. Comparison of experimental data with theory reveals the existence of a pressure-dependent incubation time for wetting of the alumina preforms by molten aluminum at 973 K. If this incubation time is taken into account, experimental curves of metal distribution are well predicted by theory, confirming the validity of the models after initiation of flow.