This article presents an experimental investigation on the influence of Methylhydroxyethylcellulose (MHEC) modified mortar on water absorption into tile and base substrate using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging. Addition of MHEC shifts the absorption behavior from homogeneous to inhomogeneous as a result of increased viscosity of pore solution. The observed reverse flow from tile to mortar is a result of decrease in capillary pressure in mortar as a consequence of decrease in pore size due to hydration. Pre-drying of 1.3 wt% MHEC mortar with dry air shows little wetting by tile due to MHEC transport and formation of dry region at the mortar surface. On the contrary, pre-drying of 1.3 wt% MHEC mortar at 40% RH slows down MHEC transport and delays the formation of dry region at the mortar surface enabling higher wetting by tile.