Polymer-modified bitumen emulsions present a safer and more environmentally friendly binder for enhancing the properties of roads. Cationic bitumen emulsion binders containing polymer latex were investigated using confocal laser scanning microscopy. The latex was incorporated into the bitumen emulsion by using four different addition methods and all emulsions were processed with a conventional colloid mill. The emulsion binder films were studied after evaporation of the emulsion aqueous phase. We show how the microstructure and distribution of the polymer varies within the bitumen binder depending on latex addition method, and that the microstructure of the binder remains intact when exposed to elevated temperature. It was found that a distinctly fine dispersion of polymer results when the polymer is blended into the bitumen before the emulsifying process (a monophase emulsion). In contrast, bi-phase emulsion binders produced by either post-adding the latex to the bitumen emulsion, or by adding the latex into the emulsifier solution phase before processing, or by comilling the latex with the bitumen, water and emulsifier all resulted in a network formation of bitumen particles surrounded by a continuous polymer film. The use of emulsified binders appears to result in a more evenly distributed polymer network compared to the use of hot polymer-modified binders, and they therefore have greater potential for consistent binder cohesion strength, stone retention and therefore improved pavement performance.